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Full text of "Curious facts in the history of insects; including spiders and scorpions. A complete collection of the legends, superstitions, beliefs, and ominous signs connected with insects; together with their uses in medicine, art, and as food; and a summary of their remarkable injuries and appearances"

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1 8 r, 5. 

Entered, accordiug to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania. 










'7 <i(i 



In the early part of tlie winter of 1863-4, having the free use of 
the Congressional Library at Washington, I began the compila- 
tion of the present work. It was my prime intent, and one which 
I have endeavored to follow most carefully, to attach some fact, 
whatever might be its nature, to as many Insects as possible, to 
increase the interest, in a commonplace way, of the science of 
Entomology. I noticed the pleasurable satisfaction I invariably 
felt when I came accidentally upon any extra-scientific fact, and 
how the association fixed the particular Insect, to which it related, 
ineffaceably upon my memory. To collect and group, then, all 
these facts together, to remember many Insects as easily as one, 

was a natural thought; and as this had never been done, but to 
a very limited extent, I undertook it myself. 

The facts contained in this volume are supposed to be purely 
historical, or rather not to belong to the natural history of Insects, 
namely, their anatomy, habits, classification, etc. They have been 
collected mostly from Chronicles, Histories, Books of Travels, and 
such like works, which, at first view, seem to be totally foreign to 
Insects: and were only discovered by examination of the indexes 
and tables of contents. 

But are my foicts facts? — it may be asked. They are ; but I do 
not vouch for each one's containing more than one truth. It is a 
fact, or truth if you will, that Pliny, Nat. Hist. xi. 34, says, 
"Folke use to hang Beetles about the neck of young babes, as 
present remedies against many maladies ;" but that this statement 
is entitled to credit, and that these Insects, hung about the necks 
of young babes, are a present remedy against many maladies, are 
two things which may be very true or far otherwise. I confine 
myself to the fact that Pliny says so, and only wish to be under- 
stood in that sense, unless when otherwise stated. 



The classification of Mr. Westwood, in the arrangement cf 1 
orders and families, I have followed as closely as was possib 
except in one or two instances: and where Insects have comnn 
and familiar names, they have been given tt)gether with tin 
scientific ones. 

To Dr. J. M. Toner, of Washington, for his suggestions ai 
assistance in collecting material, I tender my thanks ; the san 
also to N. Bushnell, Esq., and Hon. 0. H. Browning, of Quinc 
111., for the use of their several libraries. 

I am much indebted, too, to Mrs. A. L. Ruter Dufour, 
Washington, for many superstitions and two pieces of poet: 
contained in this volume, I beg her to accept my thanks. 

Greensburg, Penna., 
July 10th, 1865. 





UTiiORS Quoted. 


occinellidre — Lady-birds 17 

hrysomelidie — Grold-beetles... 23 

arabidae 23 

ausidge 23 

ermestidse — Leather-beetles 24 

Liucanidge — Stag-beetles 24 

icaraba3idae — Dung-beetles 27 

f)ynastida3 — Hercviles-beetles, etc 45 

delolonthidce — Cock-chafers 47 

yOtoniidse — Rose-chafers 49 

^uprestidee — Burn-cows 50 

lateridaj — Fire-flies, Spring-beetles, etc 51 

ampyridte — Glow-worms 55 

tinidoe — Death-watch, etc 58 

jostrichidge — Typographer-beetle, etc 61 

Dantharidffi — Blister-flies 62 

Tenebrionidae — Meal-worms 65 

lapsidte — Church-yard-beetle, etc 65 

^urculionidae — Weevils 68 

^erauibycidae — Musk-beetles 72 

^alerucidce — Turnip-fly, etc 74 


?orficulidge — Ear- wigs 76 


31attid9e — Cockroaches 78 

\Iantidfe — Soothsayers, etc 82 

l^chetidge — Crickets 92 

ryllid^e — Grasshoppers 98 

Locustidse — Locusts 101 


rermitidfe— White-ants 132 

Sphcmcridgo — Day-flies 138 

Libellulidoe — Dragon-flies 138 

Vlyrmeleonidge — Ant-lions 141 




Uroceridge — Sircx 145 

Cynipidfe — Gall-flies 14c 

Foi'inicidffi — Ants 146 

Vespidae — Wasps, Hornets 17( 

Apidse — Bees 174 


Papilionidse — Butterflies 21( 

Spbingidae — Hawk-moths 235 

Bonibicidie — Silkworm-moths 234 

ArctiidfB — Woolly-bear-moths 245 

Psychidae — Wood-carrying-moth, etc 241 j 

Noctuidie — Antler-moth, Cut-worm, etc 246 

Geometridoe — Span-worms 248 

Tineidae — Clothes'-moths, Bee-moths, etc 248 


CicadidaB — Harvest-flies 25C 

Fulgorida3 — Lantern-flies 25S 

Aphidae — Plant-lice 257 

Coccidae — Shield-lice 25^' 


Cimicidae — Bed-bugs 26§ 

Notoncotidae — Water-boatmen 275 


Culicidae— Gnats 278' 

Tipulidas— Crane-flies 286' 

MuscidjB— Flies 287 

(Estridae— Bot-flies 302 


Pulicidae— Fleas 30^ 

Pediculidse — Lice 31 



Acaridae — Mites 32 

Phalangidae — Daddy-Long-legs 3211 

Pedipalpi — Scorpions 3211 

Araneidae — True- spiders 






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Coccinellidae — Lady-birds. 

The Lady-bircl, Coccinella septempunctata, in Scandi- 
navia was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is there to 
this day called Nyckelpiga — Our Lady's Key-maid/ and 
(in Sweden, more particularly) Jung-fru Marias Gullhona 
— the Virgin Mary's Golden-hen. ^ A like reverence was 
paid to this beautiful insect in other countries : in Germany 
they have been called Frauen or Marien-kdfer — Lady- 
beetles of the Virgin Mary ; and in France are now known 
by the names of Vaches de Dieu — Cows of the Lord, and 
Betes de la Vierge — Animals of the Virgin.^ The names 
we know them by. Lady-bird, Lady-bug, Lady-fly, Lady- 
i cow,^ Lady-clock, Lady-couch (a Scottish name),^ etc., 
1 have reference also to this same dedication, or, at least, 

The Lady-bird in Europe, and particularly in Germany, 

where it probably is the greatest favorite, and whence most 

; of the superstitions connected with it are supposed to have 

originated, is always connected with fine weather. At 

Vienna, the children throw it into the air, crying, — 

1 Thorpe's Northern Mythol., ii. 104. # 

2 Jamieson'8 Scot. Diet. Another designation, in Sweden, is not 
so honoi'able, for it is that of Laettfaerdig kona, the Wanton Quean. — 
Ibid. The term Lady-bird, in England, has been also applied to a 
prostitute. — Wright's Provinc. Diet. 

3 Jaeger, Life of Amer. Ins., p. 22. 

* It is curious to notice the association of this insect with the 
cow in the English and French names. 
6 Jamieson's Scot. Diet. 

3 (H) 


KJiferl', k'aferl', kiiferl', 
Flieg nach Mariabrifnn, 
Und bring uns ii schone sun. 


Little birdie, birdie, 
Fly to Marybrunn, 
And bring us a fine sun. 

Marybrun being a place about twelve English miles from 
the Austrian capital, with a miracle-working image of the 
Virgin (still connected with the Virgin), who often sends 
good weather to the merry A^iennese.^ 

And, from the marsh of the Elbe, to this little insect the 
following words are addressed : 


Flug weg, 

Stuff weg, 
Bring me morgen goet wedder med. 


Fly away, 

Hasten away, 
Bring me good weather with you to-morrow. 2 

In England, the children are wont to be afraid of injur- 
ing the Lady-bird lest it should rain. 

With the Northmen the Lady-bird — Our Lady's Key- 
maid — is believed to foretell to the husbandman whether the 
year shall be a plentiful one or the contrary ': if its spots 
exceed seven, bread-corn will be dear; if they are fewer 
than seven, there will be an abundant harvest, and low 
prices'.^ And, in the following rhyme from Ploen, this in- 
sect is invoked to bring food : 

Marspaert (Markpaert) fleeg in Himmel ! 
Bring my'n Sack voll Kringeln, my een, dy een, 
AUe liitten Engeln een. 

Marspliert, fly to heaven! 
Bring me a sack full of biscuits, one for me, one for thee, 
^ For all the little angels one.* 

In the north of Europe it is thought lucky when a young 
girl in the country sees the Lady-bird in the spring ; she 

^ Chambers' Pop. Rhijmes, 1841, p. 170-1. 
2 Thorpe's North. My thai., iii. 182. 
^ Ibid., ii. 104. 
^ Ibid., iii. 182. 


then lets it creep about her hand, and says : " She measures 
me for weddmg gloves." And when it spreads its little 
wings and flies away, she is particular to notice the direc- 
tion it takes, for thence her sweetheart shall one day come.^ 
The latter part of this notion obtains in England ; and it 
has been embodied by Gay in one of his Pastorals, as fol- 
lows : 

This Lady-fly I take from off tlie grass, 
Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass. 
Fly, Lady-bird, north, south, or east or west, 
Fly where the man is found that I love best. 
He leaves my hand, see to the west he's flown, 
To call my true-love from the faithless town. 2 

In Norfolk, too, where this insect is called the Bishop 
Barnabee, the young girls have the following rhyme, which 
they continue to recite to it placed upon the palm of the 
hand, till it takes wing and flies away :^ 

Bishop, Bishop Barnabee, 
Tell me when my wedding be : 
If it be to-morrow day, 
Take your wings and fly away! 
Fly to the east, fly to the west, 
Fly to him that I love best.* 

Why the Lady-bird is called Bishop Barnabee, or Burn- 
abee, there is great difference of opinion. Some take it to 
be from St. Barnabas, whose festival falls in the month of 
June, when this insect first appears ; and others deem it 
but a corruption of the Bishop-that-burneth, in allusion to 
its fiery color.^ 

The following metrical jargon is repeated by the children 
in Scotland to this insect under the name of Lady Lanners, 
or Landers :^ 

Lady, Lady Lanners, 

Lady, Lady Lanners, 

Tak' up your elowk about your head, 

An' flee awa' to Flanners (Flanders). 

1 Thorpe's North. Mythol, ii. 104. 

2 4th Pastoral, 11. 83-8. 

3 It probably is induced to fly away by the warmth of the hand. 

* Notes and Queries, i. 132. 
5 Ibid., i. 28, 55, 73. 

* Jamieson supposes this word to be derived from the Teutonic 
Land-heer, a petty prince. — Scot. Diet. 


Flee ower firth, and flee ower fell, 
Flee ower pule and rinnan' well. 
Flee ower niuir, and flee ower mead, 
Flee ower livan, flee ower dead, 
Flee ower corn, and flee ower lea. 
Flee ower river, flee ower sea, 
Flee ye east, or flee ye west. 
Flee till him that lo'es nie best. 

So it seems that also in Scotland, the Lady-bird, which 
is still a great favorite with the Scottish peasantry, has 
been used for divining one's future helpmate. This likewise 
appears from a rhyme from the north of Scotland, which 
dignifies the insect with the title of Dr. Ellison : 

Dr. Dr. Ellison, wliere will I be married? 
East, or west, or south, or north? 
Take ye flight and fly away. 

It is sometimes also termed Lady Ellison, or knighted 
Sir Ellison; while other Scottish names of it are Mearns, 
Aberd, The King, and King Galowa, or Calowa. Lender 
this last title of dignity there is another Scottish rhyme, 
which evinces also the general use of this insect for the 
purpose of divination : 

King, King Calowa, 

Up your wings and flee awa' 

Over land, and over sea ; 

Tell me where my love can be.* 

There is a Netherlandish tradition that to see Lady-birds 
forebodes good luck ;''^ and in England it is held extremely 
unlucky to destroy these insects. Persons killing them, it 
is thought, will infallibly, within the course of the year, 
break a bone, or meet with some other dreadful misfortune.^ 

In England, the children are accustomed to throw the 
Lady-bird into the air, singing at the same time, — 

Lady -bird, lady-bird, fly away home; 
Your house is on fire, your children's at home, 
All but one that ligs under the stone, — 
Ply thee home, lady-bird, ere it be gone.* 

1 Jamieson's Scot. Did. Cf. Chambers' Fop. Rhymes, 1841, p. 
170-1. 2- u , . V 

2 Thorpe's North. Mijthol.; iii. 328. 

3 Grose, Antiq. {Frov. Gloss.) p. 121. 

* Chambers' Fop. Rhymes, 1841, p. 170. 


Or, as in Yorlrshire and Lancashire, — 

Lady-bird, lady-bird, eigli thy way home; 
Thy house is on fire, thy children all roam, 
Except little Nan, who sits in her pan, 
Weaving gold laces as fast as she can.i 

Or, as most commonly with us in America, — 

Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly away home, 

Your house is on fire, and your children all burn. 

The meaning of this familiar, though very curious couplet, 
seems to be this : the larvae, or young, of the Lady-bird 
feed principally upon the aphides, or plant-lice, of the vines 
of the hop ; and fire is the usual means employed in destroy- 
ing the aphides ; so that in killing the latter, the former, 
which had come for the same purpose, are likewise destroyed. 

Lnmense swarms of Lady-birds are sometimes observed 
in England, especially on the southeastern coast. They 
have been described as extending in dense masses for miles, 
and consisting of several species intermixed.^ In 1807, 
these flights in Kent and Sussex caused no small alarm to 
the superstitious, who thought them the forerunners of some 
direful evil. They were, however, but emigrants from the 
neighboring hop-grounds, where, in their larva state, they 
had been feasting upon the aphides.^ 

The Lady-bird was formerly considered an efficacious 
remedy for the cohc and measles;* and it has been recom- 
mended often as a cure for the toothache : being said, when 
one or two are mashed and put into the hollow tooth, to 
immediately relieve the pain. Jaeger says he has tried 
this application in two instances with success.^ 

In the northern part of South America — the Spanish 
Main — a species of Lady-bug, Captain Stuart tells me, is 
extensively worn as jewels and ornaments. He may, how- 
ever, refer to some species of the Gold-beetles — Chryso- 
melidde, next mentioned. 

Hurdis, who has frequently, in his Poems, availed him- 
self of the modern discoveries in Natural History, has 

1 Notes and Queries, iv. 53. 

2 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 

3 Kirby and Spence, Introd., ii. 9. 
* Newell's Zool. of the Poets, p. 48. 
^ Life of Amer. Ins., p. 21. 



drawn the following accurate and beautifal picture of the 
Ladj-bird in his tragedy of Sir Thomas More : 

Sir John. 

What d'ye look at ? 


A little animal, that round my glove, 
And up and down to every finger's tip. 
Has traveled merrily, and travels still, 
Tho' it has wings to fly : what its name is 
With learned men I know not; simple folk 
Call it the Lady-bird. 

Sir John. 

Poor harmless thing! 

Save it. 


I would not hurt it for the world ; 
Its prettiness says. Spare me; and it bears 
Armor so beautiful upon its back, 
I could not injure it to be a queen: 
Look, sir, its coat is scarlet dropp'd with jet, 
Its eyes pure ivory. 

Sir John. 

Child, I'm not blind 
To objects so minute: I know it well; 
'Tis the companion of the waning year, 
And lives among the blossoms of the hop; 
It has fine silken wings enfolded close 
Under that coat of mail. 


I see them, sir. 
For it unfurls them now — 'tis up and gone.^ 

Southey, also, in his lines addressed to this insect under 
the name of the Burnie-Bee, has thus elegantly described 

A. 1, 8C. iii. 


Back o'er thy shoulders throw thy ruby shards, 
With many a tiny coal-black freckle deck'd ; 

My watchful eye thy loitering saunter guards, 
My ready hand thy footsteps shall protect. 

So shall the fairy train, by glow-worm light, 
With rainbow tints thy folding pennons fret. 

Thy scaly breast in deeper azure dight, 

Thy burnish'd armor deck'd with glossier jet. ^ 

Chrysomelidae — Gold-beetles. 

In Chili and Brazil, the ladies form necklaces of the 
golden Chrysomelidde and brilhant Diamond-beetles, with 
which their countries abound, which are said to be very 
beautiful. 2 The wing-cases of our common Gilded-Dandy, 
Uumoljjus auratus, the metallic colors of which are pre- 
eminently brilliant and showy, have been recommended as 
ornaments for fancy boxes, and such like articles.^ A 
closely allied species, I have seen upon the finest Parisian 
artificial flowers. 


In some parts of Africa, a rather curious benefit is de- 
rived from a large beetle belonging to this family, the 
Chldenius saponarius, for it is manufactured by the natives 
into a soap.'^ 


The etymology of the word Fausus, Dr. Afzelius im- 
agines to be from the Greek Tzauffig, signifying a pause, 
cessation, or rest; for Linnaeus, now (in 1796) old and in- 
firm, and sinking under the weight of age and labor, saw 

1 Quot. with preceding in Newell's Zool. of the Poets, p. 50-2. 

2 Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 317- 

3 Jaeger, Life of Amer. Ins., p. 61. 
* Kirb. and Sp. Introd,, i. 310. 


no probability of continuing any longer his career of glory. 
He might therefore be supposed to say hie meta lahorum, 
as it in reality proved,> at least with regard to insects, for 
Pausus was the last he ever described.^ 

Dermestidae — Leather-beetles. 

In one of the stone coffins exhumed from the tumuli in 
the links of Skail, were found several small bags, which 
seemed to have been made of rushes. They all contained 
bones, with the exception of one, which is said to have been 
full of beetles belonging to the genus Dermestes. Both the 
bag and beetles were black and rotten.^ 

Four species of Dermestes were found in the head of one 
of the mummies brought by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson from 
Thebes — the D. vuljnnus of Fabricius, and the pollinctus, 
roei, and elongatus of Hope.^ 

It is a remarkable coincidence that two peoples should 
bury beetles of the same genus with their dead, and much 
the more so, when they differ so widely, as did the ancient 
Britons and Egyptians. Was it for the same reason — the 
result of any communication ? 

At one time the ravages of the Dermestes vulpinus were 
so great in the skin- warehouses of London, that a reward 
of £20,000 was offered for an available remedy.* 

Lucanidae — Stag-beetles. 

The etymolog}^ of the word Lucanus, as well as its ap- 
plication to a species of insect, it is interesting to notice. 
The ancients gave the name of Lucas, Lucana, to the ox 
and elephant. It is said that Pyrrhus had thus named the 

1 Shaw's ZooL, vi. 42. 

2 Gough's Sepul. Mon., vol. i. p. xii. — These sepulchral tumuli, or 
burrows, are of the remotest antiquity, and continued in use till the 
twelfth century. — Ibid. 

3 Wilkin. And. Egypt, ii. (2d S.) 2G1 ; and Pettig. Hist, of Mummies, 
p. 53-5. 

* Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 


elephant the first time that he saw it, because this word 
signified ox in his own language, and that he thus gave it 
the name of the largest animal which he had ever before 
seen. According to Pliny, who employed the word Lucani, 
in speaking of the Horn-beetles, Nigridius was the first 
who gave the name to these insects ; and this he did, most 
probably, from their large size, and the resemblance of their 
mandibles to horns. Dalechamp, however, thinks that the 
name Lucanus was given to the Horn-beetle only because 
this insect was very common among the Lucanians, a 
people of Italy. But it is probable, after what has been 
above said, that the Lucanians themselves were thus named, 

! in consequence of the great numbers of oxen which they 
reared. The common name. Flying-hull, given to this in- 

I sect in different languages, corresponds very well with that 

: given by Nigridius.^ 

A popular belief in Germany is, that the Stag-beetle, 
Lucanus cervus, carries burning coals into houses by 
means of its jaws, and that it has thus occasioned many 
fearful fires. ^ 

In the New Forest of England, the Stag-beetle by the 
rustics is called the DeviVs Imp, and is believed to be sent 
to do some evil to the corn ; and woe be to this unfortunate 
insect when met by these superstitious foresters, for it is 
immediately stoned to death. A writer, in the Notes and 
Queries,^ states that he saw one of these insects actually 
thus destroyed. 

Professor Bradley, of Cambridge, mentions the following 
remarkable instance of insect strength in a Stag-beetle. 

I He asserts that he saw the beetle carry a wand a foot and 
a half long, and half an inch thick, and even fly with it to 
the distance of several yards.* Linnaeus observes, that if 
the elephant was as strong in proportion as the Stag-beetle, 
it would be able to tear up rocks and level mountains.^ 

Bingley has the following marvelous story of the sup- 
posed rapacity of the Stag-beetle, which, it has been re- 
marked, if not gravely stated by the reverend editor of the 

1 Cuvier's Animal Kingd. — Ins., i. 530. 

2 The Mirror, xix. 180; and Saturday Mag., xvi. 144. 
3N. & Q., 2dS., ii. 83. 

4 Bradley, Phil. Account, p. 184. 

5 N. Diet, d'llist. Nat., xxii. 81. 


Animal Biography, as related to him by one of his own 
intimate and intelligent friends, might haye been supposed 
by the general reader to haye been borrowed from the 
Travels of the yeraeious Munchausen. "An intimate and 
intelligent friend of the editor informed him that he had 
often found several heads of these insects together, all per- 
fectly alive, while the abdomens were gone, and the trunks 
and heads were left together. How this circumstance took 
place he never could discover with any certainty. He sup- 
poses, however, that it must have been in consequence of 
the severe battles that sometimes take place among the 
fiercest of the insect tribes ; but their mouths not seeming 
formed for animal food, he is at a loss to guess what be- 
comes of their abdomens. They do not fly till most of the 
birds have retired to rest, and indeed if we were to suppose 
that any of them devoured them, it would be difficult to 
say why the heads or trunks should be rejected."^ 

Moufet says: "When the head (of the Stag-beetle) is 
cut off, the other parts of the body live long, but the head 
(contrary to the usual custom of insects) lives longer. This 
is said to be dedicated to the moon, and the head and horns 
of it wax with the moon, and do wane with the moon, but it 
is the opinion of vain astrologers."^ 

The mandibles of the Stag-beetle were formerly employed 
in medicine, under the name of Horns of Scarabaei. This 
remedy was administered as an absorbent, in case of pains 
or convulsions supposed to be produced by acidity in the 
primse viae} This is the insect most probably alluded to 
by Pliny, when he says, " Folke use to hang Beetles about 
the neck of young babes, as present remedies against many 
maladies."* The Scarabaeus cornidus of Schroder (v. 345) 
is also, perhaps, the Liicanus cei'vus. We learn from this 
gentleman that it has been recommended to be worn as an 
amulet for an ague, or pains and contractions of the ten- 
dons, if applied to the part affected. He tells us also, that 
if tied about the necks of children, it enables them to retain 
their urine. An oil, prepared by infusion of these insects, 

1 Nat. Hist, of Ins., Lond., 1838, ii. 156. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 149. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1006. 

3 Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 533. 

4 Nat. Hist., xi. 34. Holl. Trans., p. 326. K. 


is recommended by the same author, in pains of the ears, if 
dropped into them,^ 

The Cossus of the Greeks and Romans, which, at the 
time of the greatest hixury among the latter, was intro- 
duced at the tables of the rich, was the larva, or grub, of a 
large beetle that lives in the stems of trees, particularly the 
oak; and was, most probably, the larva of the Stag-beetle, 
Lucanus cervus. On this subject, however, entomologists 
differ very widely, for it has been supposed the larva of the 
Calandra palmarum by Geoflfroy and Keferotein ; of the 
Prionus damicornis by Drury ; but of the Lucanus cervus 
by Roesel, Scopoli, and most others. The first two, being 
neither natives of Italy nor inhabiting the oak, are out of 
the question. But the larva of the Lucanus cervus, and 
perhaps also the Prionus coriarius, which are found in the 
oak as well as in other trees, may each have been eaten un- 
der this name, as their difference could not be discernible 
either to collectors or cooks. Linnaeus, following the 
opinion of Ray, supposed the caterpillar of the great Goat- 
moth to be the cossus.^ 

Pliny tells us that the epicures, who looked upon these 
cossi as delicacies, even fed them with meal, in order to 
fatten them.^ 

Our children, who call the Stag-beetles and the Passalus 
cornutus, oxen, are wont to hitch them with threads to 
chips and small sticks, and, for their amusement, make them 
drag the wood along as if they were oxen. 

Scarabaeidae — Dung-beetles. 

The Coprion, Cantharus, and Heliocantharus of the an- 
cients were evidently the Scarabaeus (Ateuchus) pilurarius, 
or, as it is commonly called, the Tumble-dung, or one nearly 
related to it, for it is described as rolling backward large 

1 James' Med. Diet. Cf. Brookes' Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 321. 

2 Amoreiix, p. 154. Burmeister's Manl. of Entomol., p. 561. Ke- 
ferot. Uber den unmittelbaren Nutzen der Insekten, Erfurt, 1829, 4to, 
p. 8-10. Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 303, note. Shaw's ZooL, vi. 28, 

3 Nat. Hist., xvii. 37. 


masses of dung; and in doing this it attracted such general 
attention as to give rise to the proverb Gantharus pipulam. 
From the name, derived from a word signifying an ass, it 
should seem the Grecian beetle made, or was supposed to 
make, its pills of asses'' dung ; and this is confirmed by a 
passage in one of the plays of Aristophanes, the Irene, 
where a beetle of this kind is introduced, on which one of 
the characters rides to heaven to petition Jupiter for peace. 
The play begins with one domestic desiring another to feed 
the Cantharus with some bread, and afterward orders his 
companion to give him another kind of bread made of asses^ 
dung.^ • 

• Illustrative of the great strength of the Tumble-bug, the 
following anecdote may be related : Dr. Brichell was sup- 
ping one evening in a planter's house of North Carolina, 
when two of these beetles were placed, without his knowl- 
edge, under the candlestick. A few blows were struck on 
the table, when, to his great surprise, the candlestick began 
to move about, apparently without any agency, except that 
of a spiritual nature; and his surprise was not lessened 
when, on taking one of them up, he discovered that it was 
onl}^ a chafer that moved. ^ 

In Denmark, the common Dung-beetle, Geofrupes ster- 
corarius, is called Skarnbosse or Tor{Thor)hist, and an 
augury as to the harvest is drawn by the peasants from 
the mites which infest it. The notion is, that if there are 
many of these mites between the fore feet, there will be an 
early harvest, but a late one if they abound between the 
hind feet.^ 

In Gothland, where Thor was worshiped above and more 
than the other gods, the Scarabaeus {Geotrupes) stercora- 
rius was considered sacred to him, and bore the name of 
Thorbagge — Thor's-bug. "Relative to this beetle," says 
Thorpe, "a superstition still exists, which has been trans- 
mitted from father to son, that if any one finds in his path 
a Thorbagge lying helpless upon its back, and turns it on 
its feet, he expiates seven sins ; because Thor in the time 
of heathenism was regarded as a mediator with a higher 

1 Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 255, note. 

2 Ins. ArchiL, p. 25'J, 

3 Detharding de Ins. Coleop. Danicis, 9. Quot. by Kirb. and Sp. 
Introd., i. 33. 


power, or All-father. On the introduction of Christianity, 
the priests strove to terrify the people from the worship of 
their old divinities, pronouncing both them and their adhe- 
rents to be evil spirits, and belonging to hell. On the poor 
Thorbagge the name was now bestowed of Thordjefvul or 
Thordyfvel — Thor-devil, by which it is still known in Sweden 
Proper. No one now thinks of Thor, when he finds the help- 
less creature lying on its back, but the good-natured coun- 
tryman seldom passes it without setting it on its feet, and 
thinking of his sin's atonement."^ 

A common symbol of the Creator among the Hindoos 
(from whom it passed into Egypt, and thence into Scandi- 
navia, says Bjornstjerna) was the Scarabaeus (Ateuchus) 
sacer, commonly called the Sacred-beetle of the Egyptians.^ 
Of this insect we next treat at length. 

Of the many animals worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, 
one of the most celebrated, perhaps, is the insect commonly 
known as the Sacred-scarab — Scarabaeus sacer. This name 
was given it by Linnaeus, but later writers know it as the 
Ateuchus sacer.^ The insect is found throughout all Egypt, 
in the southern part of Europe,* in China, the East Indies, 
in Barbary, and at the Cape of Good Hope.^ 

The Ateuchus sacer, however, is not the only insect that 
was regarded as an object of veneration by the Egyptians ; 
but another species of the same genus, lately discovered in 
the Sennari by M. Caillaud de Nantes, appears to have first 
fixed the attention of this people, in consequence of its more 
brilliant colors, and of the country in which it was found, 
which, it is supposed, was their first sojourn.^ This species, 
which Cuvier has named Ateuchus ^gyptorum, is green, 
with a golden tint, while the first is black.'' The Buprestis 
and Gantharus, or Copris, were also held in high repute by 
the Egyptians, and used as synonymous emblems of the 
same deities as the Scarabaeus. This is further confirmed 
by the fact of S. Passalacqua having found a species of 

1 Northern Mythol., ii 53. 

' Bjornstj. Theog. of Hindoos, p. 108. 

5 Oliv. Col. I. 3, viii. 59. Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 452. 

4 Cuvier, qua supra. 

5 Donovan's Ins. of China, p. 4, 

6 Cuvier, qua supra. 

"^ De Pauw's Sacred-beetle of the Egyptians was "the great golden 
Scarabee, called by some the Cantharides." — ii. 104. 



Buprestis embalmed in a tomb at Thebes.^ But the Scara- 
bdeus, or Ateuchus sacer, is the beetle most commonly 
represented, and the type of the whole class ; and the one 
referred to in this article under the general name of Scara- 
bseiis, unless when otherwise particularly mentioned. 

The Scarabaeus, according to the beliefs of the ancient 
Egyptians, was sacred to the Sun and to Pthah, the personi- 
fication of the creative power of the Deity ; and it was 
adopted as an emblem or symbol of — 

1. The World — According to P. Valerianus, the Scarab 
was symbolical of the world, on account of the globular 
form of its pellets of dung, and from an odd notion that 
they were rolled from sunrise to sunset.^ 

2. The Sun. — P. Valerianus supposes this insect to have 
been a symbol of the sun, because of the angular projection 
from its head resembling rays, and from the thirty joints of 
the six tarsi of its feet answering to the days of an (ordi- 
nary) solar month. ^ According to Plutarch, it was because 
these insects cast the seed of generation into round balls of 
dung, as a genial nidus, and roll them backward with their 
feet, while they themselves look directly forward. And as 
the sun appears to proceed in the heavens in a course con- 
trary to the signs, thus the Scarabaei turn their balls toward 
the west, w^hile they themselves continue creeping toward 
the east ; by the first of these motions exhibiting the diurnal, 
and by the second the annual, motion of the earth and the 
planets.* Porphyry gives the same reason as Plutarch 
why the beetle was considered, as he calls it, "a living 
image of the sun."^ Horapollo assigns two reasons for the 

1 Wilkinson, And. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 259. 

' Val. Hieroglyphica, p. 93-5. 

3 Ibid. 

* Plut. Of his and Osiris, p. 220. The translation of this passage 
as given by Philemon Holland is as follows: "The Fly called the 
Beetill they (the Egyptians) revei'ence, because they observe in 
them I wot not what little slender Images (like as in drops of water 

we see the resemblance of the Sun) of the Divine power 

As for the Beetills, they hold, that throughout all their kinds there 
is no female, but all the males do blow or cast their seed into a 
certain globus or round matter in the form of balls, which they 
drive from them and roll to and fro contrariwise, like as the Sun, 
when he moveth himself from the West to the East, seemeth to turn 
about the Heaven clean contrary." — p. 1071, ed. of 1657. 

5 Quot. by Montfaucon, Antiq., vol. ii., Part 2, p. 322. 


Scarab being taken as an emblem of the sun. He tells us 
there are three species of beetles : one of which has the 
form of a cat, and is radiated;^ and this one from a sup-' 
posed analogy the Egyptians have dedicated to the Sun, 
because, first, the statue of the Deity of Heliopolis (City of 
the Sun) has the form of a cat !^ In this, however, Wilkin- 
son asserts, that Horapollo is wrong ; for the Deity of 
Heliopolis, under the form of a cat, was the emblem of Bu- 
bastis, and not of Re, a type of the sun ; and the presence of 
her statue is explained by the custom of each city assign- 
ing to the Divinities of neighboring places a conspicuous 
post in its own temples ; and Bubastis was one of the prin- 
cipal contemplar Deities of Heliopolis.^ The second reason 
of Horapollo is, that this insect has thirty fingers, which 
correspond to the thirty days of a solar month.* 

3. The Moon. — The second of the three species of beetles, 
described by Horapollo, has, according to this writer, two 
horns, and the character of a bull ; and it was consecrated 
to the moon ; whence the Egyptians say, that the bull in 
the heavens is the elevation of this Goddess. This state- 
ment of beetle "with two horns" (the Copris Isidis) con- 
secrated to the moon, Wilkinson says is not confirmed by 
the sculptures where it is never introduced,^ 

It is said the Egyptians believed that the pellet of the 
Scarabaeus remained in the ground for a period of twenty- 
eight days. Ma}^ not this have some connection with their 
choosing the insect as a symbol of the moon which divides 
the year into months of twenty-eight days each ; or, of the 
month itself (of which we shall notice it was also a symbol) 
for the same reason ? I have seen, too, a Scarabaeus en- 
graved upon a seal, the joints of whose tarsi numbered but 

Conformable to this supposition, the following quotation 
may be given from that chapter of the Treasvrie of Aun- 
cient and Modern Times devoted to the "Many meruailous 
(marvelous) properties in sundrie things; and to what 

1 De Pauw tells us that the description of the Scarabaeus as given 
by Orus Apollo (Horapollo) is, that "it resembles the sparkling luster 
of the eye of a cat in the dark."(!) — ii. 104. 

2 Horap., i. 10. 

» A7ict. Egypt., i. (1st S.) 296. 

* Horap., Uierogl., i. 10. 

6 And. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 258. 


Stars and Planets they are subjected naturally," where we 
find mention of the Scarab as being subject to the moon : 
" The Scarahe, which is otherwise commonly called the 
Beetle-flye, a little old Creature, is maruelously subject to 
the Moon, and thereof is found both written, and by experi- 
ence : That she gathereth or little pellets, or little round 
bals, and therein encloseth her young Egges, keeping the 
Pellets hid in the ground eight and twenty dales ; during 
which time the Moone maketh her course, and the nine and 
twentieth day shee taketh them forth, and then hideth them 
againe vnder the Earth. Then, at such time as the Moone 
is conioyned with the Sunne, which wee vsually tearme the 
New Moone: they all issue forth aliue, and flye about. "^ 

4. Mercury. — The third of the three species of beetles, 
described by Horapollo, has one horn, and a peculiar form ; 
and it is supposed, like the Ibis, to refer to Mercury.^ 

5. A Courageous Warrior. — As such they forced all the 
soldiers to wear rings, upon each of which a beetle -was 
engraved, i.e. an animal perpetually in armor, who went 
his rounds in the night.^ Plutarch thus alludes to this cus- 
tom : "In the signet or seal-ring of their martial and mili- 
tary men, there was engraven the portraeture of the great 
Fly called the Beettil ;" and assigns this curious and ridicu- 
lous reason, " because in that kinde there is no female, but 
they be all males."* The custom is also mentioned by 
Julian ;^ and some Scarabs have been found perfect, set in 
gold, with the ring attached.® The Romans adopted this 
emblem and made it a part of some legionary standards. 

6. Pthah, the Creative Power. — Plutarch says, that in 
consequence of there being no females of this species, but 
all males, they were considered fit t3^pes of the creative 
power, self-acting and self-sufficient.^ Some, too, have 
supposed that its position upon the female figure of the 
heavens, which encircles the zodiacs, refers to the same 
singular idea of its generative influence.^ 

1 Treasvrie, B. 7. c. 14, p. 6(J2. Printed 1G13. 

2 Horap. Ilierog., i. 10. 

3 Fosbroke, Encycl. of Andq., i. 208. 

4 Of Isis, S;c. Holl. TransL, p. 1051. 
6 iElian, x. 15. 

6 Wilkinson, And. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 257. 

' Of his, ^-c, qua supra. 

8 Wilkin. And. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 250. 


T. Pthali Tore, another character of the creative power.^ 

8. Pthah-Sokari-Osiris. — Of this pigmy Deity of Mem- 
phis, it was adopted as a distinctive mark, being pkxced on 
his head. 2 

9. Regeneration, or reproduction, from the fact of its 
being the first living animal observed upon the subsidence 
of the waters of the Nile.^ 

10. Spring.^ 

11. The Egyptian month anterior to the rising of the 
Nile, as it appears first in that month. ^ It also may have 
been a symbol of a lunar month from an above-mentioned 
belief, namely, that its pellets remain twenty-eight days in 
the ground. It is sometimes found with the joints of its 
tarsi numbering but twent3^-eight instead of thirty, hence 
the supposition is that it was held as a symbol of a lunar, 
as well as a solar, month. 

12. Fecundity. — Dr. Clarke informs us that these beetles 
are even yet eaten by the women to render them prolific.*^ 

13. With the eyes pierced by a needle, of a man who 
died from fever. ^ 

14. Surrounded by roses, of a voluptuary, because they 
thought that the smell of that flower enervated, made 
lethargic, and killed the beetle.^ 

15. An only son ; because, says Fosbroke, they believed 
that every beetle was " both male and female."" Was it 
not because they imagined these insects were all males, as 
above stated upon the authority of Plutarch, and hence the 
analogy in a family of an only son since it could be but of 
the masculine gender ? 

The Scarabseus was also connected with astronomical 
subjects, occurring in some zodiacs in the place of Cancer ; 
and with funereal rites. ^° 

To no place in particular, as the dog at Cynopohs, the 

1 Wilkin. AncL Eg^jpt., ii. (2d S.) 256. 2 Ibid. 

3 Pettigrew, Hist, of Mum., p. 220. * Ibid. ^ Ibid. 

6 Travels, ii. 306 (?). 
■^ Fosbroke, Encycl. of Antiq., i. 208. 

8 Ibid. Vide Pierius' Hieroglyph., p. 76-80. Solis operum sinii- 
litudo ; Mundus; Generatio; Vnigenitus; Deus in humano corpore; 
Vir, paterve; Bellator strenuus ; Sol; Luna; Mercurius ; Febris 
letlialis a sole; Virtus enervata deliciis. 

9 Fosbroke, Encycl. of Antiq., i. 208. 

10 Wilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 257. 



ichneumon at Heracleopolis, was the worship of the beetle 
confined ; but traces of it are found throughout the whole 
of Egypt. It is probable, however, it received the greatest 
honors at Memphis and Heliopolis, of which cities Pthah 
and the Sun were the chief Deities.^ The worship is also 
of great antiquity, for in many of the above-mentioned 
characters, the beetle occurs upon the royal sepulchers of 
Biban-el-Moluc, which are said to be more ancient than the 
Pyramids. 2 Scaraba3i are, in fact, to be retraced in all their 
moiiuments and sculptures, and under divers positions, and 
often depicted of gigantic dimensions. Mr. Hamilton tells 
us that in the most conspicuous part of the magnificent 
temple which marks the site of the ancient Ombite nome, 
priests are represented paying divine honors to this beetle, 
placed upon an altar ; and, that it might have a character 
of more mysterious sanctity, it was generally figured with 
two mitered heads — that of the common hawk, and that of 
the ram with the horn of Ammon.^ It may be remarked 
here, that the Scarabaeus, when represented with the head 
of a hawk, or of a ram, is meant to be an emblem of the 
sun ; and as such emblem it is most commonly found. It 
often occurs in a boat with extended wings, holding the 
globe of the sun in its claws, or elevated in the firmament 
as a type of that luminary in the meridian. Figures too 
of other Deities are often seen praying to it when in this 

In the cabinet of Montfaucon, there is a Scarabseus in 
the middle of a large stone, with outspread feet ; and two 
men, or women, who are perhaps priests, or priestesses, 
stand before it with clasped hands as if in adoration.^ This 
gentleman also has remarked that on the Isiac table, there 
is the figure of a man in a sitting posture, who holds his 
hands toward a beetle which has the head of a man with 
a crescent upon it.® On this table there is another Scarab 
with the head of Isis.^ Besides these Scarabaei with the 
heads of hawks, rams, men, and the goddess Isis, Mr. 

1 Wilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 257. 

2 De Pauw, ii. 104. 

3 Pettig. Hist, of Mum., p. 220. 

* Wilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 256. 

6 Montf. Antiq., ii. (Pt. II ) 322. 
^ Ibid., ii. (Pt. II.) 339. 

7 Wilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 259, note. 


Hertz has in his possession a small Scarabaeus in stone 
with the head of a cow.^ 

The mode of representing the Scarabaei on the monu- 
ments was frequently very arbitrary. Some are figured 
with, and some without the scutellum ; and others are 
I sometimes introduced with two scutella, one on either 
clypeus. An instance of this mode of representation, of 
which no example is to be found in nature, occurs in a large 
i Scarabaeus in the British museum.^ 

Among the ideographics of the hieroglyphic writing, the 
Scarabaeus is found under several forms : seated with 
closed and spread wings upon the head of a god, it signi- 
fies the name of a god — a Creator f and with the head and 
legs of a man, it is emblematic of the same creative power, 
or of Pthah. Another emblem of Pthah is supported by 
the arms of a man kneeling on the heavens, and surmounted 
by a winged Scarab supporting a globe or sun.* 

The Scarabaeus likewise belongs to the hieroglyphic 
signs as a syllabic phonetic ; and with complement a 
mouth, signifies type, form, and transformation : flying, to 
mount — a phonetic of the later alphabet, with sound of H 
in the name of Pthah. Another phonetic of the later alpha- 
bet, belonging to the xxvi. dynasty, of the time of Domi- 
tianus and Trajanus, was a Scarabaeus in repose.^ 

The Scarabaeus entered also into the royal scutcheons. 
It first appeared in the xi. dynasty, and is found afterward 
in the xii., xiii., xiv., xviii., xix., xx., xxi., xxii. xxiii., 
and XXX. ^ 

The most important monuments of the great edifice of 
Amenophis — the so-called Palace of Luxon, — in an histori- 
cal sense, are said to be four great Scarabaei. They contain 
statements as to the frontier of the Egyptian empire under 
Amenophis at the time of his marriage with Taja. Rosel- 
lini has given copies and explanations of two of them. A 
third, now in the Louvre, states that the King, conqueror 
of the Lybian Shepherds, husband of Taja, made the foreign 

1 Wilkin. AncL Egi/pt., ii. (2d S.) 259, note. 

2 Ibid. 

8 Bunsen, Egypt's Place, i. 504, fig. 116; i. 508, fig. 169. 
* AVilkin. Ank. Egypt, i. (2d S.) 258, fig. 

5 Bunsen, Ibid., i. 572, fig. 12; i. 676, tig. 9; i. 582, fig. 3. 

6 Bunsen, Ibid., i. 617-632. 


country of the Kara! his southern frontier, the foreign land 
of Nharina (Mesopotamia) his northern.^ The inscription 
of the other Scarabseus, now in the Vatican, states that in 
the eleventh year and third month of his reign, King Amen- 
hept made a great tank or lake to celebrate the festival of 
the waters ; on w^hich occasion he entered it in a barge of 
"the most gracious Disc of the Sun." This substitution, 
by the King, of the barge of the Disc of the Sun' for the 
usual barge of Amun-Ra, is the ^irs^ indication of an hereti- 
cal sun-worship.^ 

Such historical Scarabsei, Champollion and Rosellini 
have happily compared to commemorative coins ; and, in 
fact, those which record the names of the kings might per- 
haps be considered as small Egyptian coins.^ 

Besides being ensculped upon monuments and tablets, 
Scarabsei, as images in baked earth, are found in great 
numbers with the mummies of Egypt. These little figures 
also present an intermingling of several animal forms; for 
some are found with the heads of men, others with those 
of dogs, lions, and cats, and others are figures entirely 
fantastical. Father Kirker says, they were interred with 
the dead to drive away evil spirits; and there is much 
probability, he continues, that these were put here for no 
other purpose than to protect their relatives.^ The largest 
of these rude images of Scarabaei, thus used for funereal 
purposes, frequently had a prayer, or legend connected with 
the dead, engraved upon them ; and a winged Scarabaeus was 
generally placed on those bodies which were embalmed ac- 
cording to the most extensive process.* These latter are 
found in various positions, but generally upon the eye and 
breast of the body.^ Placed over the stomach, it was deemed 
a never-failing talisman to shield the "soul" of its wearer 
against the terrific genii of Amenthi.^ 

A small, closely cut, glazed limestone Scarabgeus has 
been found tied like a ring by a twist of plain cord on the 
fourth finger of the left hand. This has occurred twice. 
Another has been found fastened around the left wrist.'' 

1 Bunsen's Egypt's Place, iii. 142. 2 /^/c?. 

3 Quot. by Montf. Antiq., ii. (Pt. II.) 323. 
* Wilkin. And. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 257. 

6 Pet tig. Ilist. of Mum., p. 220. 
8 Maury's Indig. Races, p. 15G. 

7 Phind's Thebes, p. 130. 


It has been remarked before that the Scarabaeus was con- 
nected with astronomical subjects. Donovan tells us that 
"when sculptured on astronomical tables, or on columns, it 
expressed the divine wisdom which regulated the universe 
and enlightened man. "^ 

From another point of view we will look now upon the 
worship of the Scarabseus. When the hieroglyphics of the 
ancient Egyptians, by reason of their antiquity, became un- 
intelligible, and, in consequence, to the superstitious people, 
sacred, they were formed into circles and borders, after the 
manner of cordons, and engraved upon precious stones and 
gems, by way of amulets and trinkets. It is thought this 
fkshion was coeval with the introduction of the worship of 
i Serapis by the Ptolemies.^ In the second century, that sect 
of the Egyptians called the Basilidians, intermingling the 
new-born Christianity with their heathenism, introduced 
that particular kind of mysterious hieroglyphics and figures 
called Abraxas, which were supposed to have the singular 
property of curing diseases.^ These abraxas are generally 
oval, and made of black Egyptian basalt. They are some- 
times covered with letters and characters, fac-similes of the 
ancient hieroglyphics, but more commonly with the inscrip- 
tions in the more modern letters. Besides these inscriptions, 
figures of animals and scenes were also frequently repre- 
sented ; and among the animals, one of frequent occurrence 
was the Scarabagus. For this insect the Basilidians had the 
same great veneration as their forefathers ; and they paid 
to it almost the same divine honors. This appears in many 
abraxas, and particularly in one in the cabinet of Mont- 
faucon, where two women are seen standing before a beetle, 
with uplifted hands, as if supplicating it to grant them some 
favor. Above is a large star, or, more probably, the sun, 
of which the beetle was the well-known symbol.* On an- 
other abraxas, figured by Montfaucon, there are two birds 
with human heads, which stand before a Scarab. These 
figures are surrounded by a snake the ends of which meet. 
Upon the other side is written in Greek characters the word 
(fpTj (Phre or Phri), which in the Coptic or Egyptian lan- 
guage signifies the sun.^ Chifflet has figured an abraxas 

1 Donovan, Ins. of China, p. 3. 

2 Fosbroke, Encyclop. of Antiq., i. 208. 3 jn^^ 
4 Montf. Antiq., ii. (Pt! II.) 339. 5 Ibid. 


which contains a Scarabseus having the sun for its head, 
and the arms of a man for legs.^ Another, in the cabinet 
of M. Capello, is remarkable for having a woman on its re- 
verse, who holds two infants in her arms.^ Montfaucon has 
also figured two others, given by Fabreti; and Count Cay- 
lus has engraved one, which represents a woman's head 
upon the body of a Scarab. The head is that of Isis.^ As 
these beetles differ much in form, it may be there are sev- 
eral species. To the abraxas succeeded the talismans, 
which were of the highest estimation in the East. 

Carved Scarabaei of all sizes and qualities are quite com- 
mon in the cabinets of Europe. They were principally used 
for sets in rings, necklaces, and other ornamental trinkets, and 
are now called Scarabaei gems,* though some suppose them 
to have been money. All of these gems, Winkleman says, 
which have a beetle on the convex side, and an Egyptian 

1 Montf. Antig., ii. (P.t II.) 339. 2 /jjV/. 

3 Fosbroke, Encycl. of Antiq., i. 208. 

* There is now at Thebes an arch-forger of Scarabaei — a certain 
Ali Gamooni, whose endeavors, in the manufacture of these much- 
sought-after relics, have been crowned with the greatest success. 
For the coarser description of these, he has, as well as chance Eu- 
ropean purchasers, an outlet in a native market; for they are bought 
from him to be carried up the river into Nubia, where they are 
favorite amulets and ornaments, as mothers greatly delight to patch 
one or two to the girdles by short thongs, wliich constitute the only 
article of dress of their children. Through this very medium, too, 
it sometimes happens that these spurious Scarabaei come into the 
possession of unsophisticated travelers, who are not likely to sus- 
pect their origin in that remote country, and under such circum- 

Scarabaei also of the more elegant and well-finished descrip- 
tions are not beyond the range of this curious counterfeiter. These 
he makes of the same material as the ancients themselves used, — 
a close-grained, easily-cut limestone, which, after it is graven into 
shape and lettered, receives a greenish glaze by being baked on a 
shovel with brass filings. 

Ali, not content with closely imitating, has even aspired to the 
creative; so antiquarians must be on their guard lest they waste 
their time and learning on antiquities of a very modern date. — 
Vide Rhind"s Thebes, p. 253— 5. Mr. Gliddon, in an incidental 
note, Indig. Races, p. 192, takes credit for having furnished this 
same Ali, some twenty-four years ago (as it woald appear), with 
broken penknives and other appliances to aid his already-manifested 
talent, in the somewhat fantastic hope of flooding the local market 
with such curiosities, and so saving the monuments from being laid 
under contribution! 


deity on the concave, are of a date posterior to the Ptole- 
mies ; and, moreover, all the ordinary gems, which repre- 
sent the figures or heads of Serapis, or Anubis, are of the 
Roman era.^ According to C. Caylus, the Egyptians used 
these gems for amulets, and made them of all substances 
except metal. They preferred, however, those of pottery, 
covered with green and black enamel. Cylinders, scpares, 
and pyramids were first used ; then came the Scarabsei, 
which were the last forms. They now began to have the 
appearance of seals or stamps, and many believe them to 
have been such. The body of the beetle being a convenient 
hold for the hand, and the base a place of safety and facility 
to engrave whatsoever was wished to be stamped or printed. 
Many of these characters are as yet uninteUigible. These 
seals are made of the most durable stones, and their convex 
pi*'t commonly worked without much art. 

The Egyptian form of the Scarabasus, which somewhat 
resembled a half- walnut, the Etruscans adopted in the 
manufacture of their gems. These scarcely exceed the 
natural size of the Scarabaeus which they have on the con- 
vex side. They have also a hole drilled through them 
lengthwise, for suspension from the neck, or annexation to 
some other part of the person. They are generall}^ corne- 
lians. Some are of a style very ancient, and of extremely 
precious work, although in the Etruscan manner, which is 
correctness of design in the figures, and hardness in the 
turn of the muscles. 

The Greeks also made use of the Scarabgeus in their 
gems ; but in the end they suppressed the insect, and pre- 
served ^lone the oval form which the base presented, for 
the body of the sculpture. They also mounted them in 
their rings. ^ 

Several Egyptian Scarabsei were among^ the relics dis- 
covered by Layard at Arban on the banks of the Khabour ; 
and similar objects have been brought from Nimroud, and 
various other ruins in Assyria.'' 

1 Winkleman, Art. 2, c. 1. 

2 Pai-aph. from Fosbroke's Encycl. of Antiq., i. 208. 

3 Of those deposited in the British Museum, Mr. Birch has made 
the following report : 

1. A Scarabasus having on the base Ra-men-Chepr, a prenomeu of 


Layard has figured a bronze cup, and two bronze cubes, 
found among the ruins of Nimroud, on which occur as 

Thothmes III. Beneath is a Scarab between two feathers, placed 
on the basket stib. 

2. A Scarabseus in dark steaschist, with the figure of the sphinx 
(the sun), and an emblem between the fore paws of the monster. 
The sphinx constantly appears on the Scarabaei of Thothmes III., 
and it is probably to this monarch that the one here described be- 
longs. (On many Scarabaei in the British Museum, and on those 
figured by Klaproth from the Palin Collection, in Leeman's Monu- 
ments, and in the "Description de TEgypt," Thothmes is repre- 
sented as a sphinx treading foreign prisoners under him. — Layard..) 
After the Sphinx on this Scarab are the titles of the king, "The 
sun-placer of creation," of Thothmes III. 

3. Small Scarabaeus of white steaschist, with a brownish hue ; 
reads N'eter nefer nebta Ra-neb-ma, " The good God, the Lord of the 
Earth, the Sun, the Lord of truth, rising in all lands." This is 
Amenophis III., one of the last kings of the xviii. dynasty, who 
flourished about the fifteenth century b. c. 

4. Scarabseus in white steaschist, with an abridged form of the 
prenomen of Thothmes III., Ra-men-cheper at en Amen, "The sun- 
placer of creation, the type of Ammon." This monarch was the 
greatest monarch of the xviii. dynasty, and conquered Naharaina 
and the Saenkar, besides receiving tribute from Babel or Babylon 
and Assyria. 

5. Scarabreus in pale white steaschist, with three emblems that 
cannot well be explained. They are the sun's disk, the ostrich 
feather, the uraeus, and the guitar nablium. They may mean 
"Truth the good goddess," or "lady," or ma-nefer, "good and 

6. Scarabaeus in the same substance, with a motto of doubtful 

7. Scarabaeus, with a hawk, and God holding the emblem of life, 
and the words ma nefer, "good and true." The meaning very 

8. A Scarabaeus with a hawk-headed gryphon, emblem of Menta- 
Ra, or Mars. Behind the monster is the goddess Sati, or Nuben. 
The hawk-headed lion is one of the shapes into which the sun turns 
himself in the hours of the day. It is a common emblem of the 
Aramaean religion. 

9. Scarabaeus with hawk-headed gryphon, having before in the 
uraeus and the nabla or guitar, hieroglyphic of good. Above it are 
the hieroglyphics "Lord of the earth." 

10. Small Scarabseus in dark steaschist, with a man in adoration 
to a king or deity, wearing a crown of the upper country, and 
holding in the left hand a lotus flower. Between this is the emblem 
of life. 

11. Scarabaeus, with the hawk-headed Scarabaeus, emblem of 
Ra-cheper, "the creator Sun," flying with expanded wings, four in 
number, which do not appear in Egyptian mythology till after the 


ornaments the figures of Scarabs. Those on the cubes are 
with outstretched wings, inlaid with gold. The cubes have 
much the appearance of weights.^ 

The Scarabseus was not only venerated when alive, but 
embalmed after death. In that state they are found at 
Thebes. It, however, was not the only insect thus honored, 
for in one of the heads brought by Mr. Wilkinson from 
Thebes, several others were discovered. These were sub- 
mitted to Mr. Hope for examination ; and the species ascer- 
tained by this gentleman, Mr. Pettigrew has enumerated as 
follows : 

1. Corynetes violaceous, Fah. 

2. Necrobia mumiarum, Hope. 

3. Dermestes vulpinus, Fab. 

4. pollinctus, Hope. 

5. roei, Hope. 

6. elongatus, Hope. 

T. Pimelia spinulosa, Klug f 

8. Copris sabseus ? "found by Passalacqua; so named 
on the testimony of Latrielle." 

9. Midas, Fab. 

10. Pithecius, Fab. 

11. A species of Cantharis in Passalacqua's Collection, 
No. 442.^ The House-fly has also been found embalmed 
at Thebes.3 

Concerning the worship in general of the Scarabaeus, 
many curious observations have been made besides the 
ones above recorded. 

Pliny, in the words of his ancient translator, Philemon 
Holland, tells us '' The greater part of ^gypt honour all 
beetles, and adore them as gods, or at leastwise having 

time of the Persians, -when the gods assume a more Pantheistic 
form. Such a representation of the sun, for instance, is found in 
the Torso Borghese. 

It will be observed, adds Layard, that most of the Egyptian relics 
discovered in the Assyrian ruins are of the time of the xviii. Egyp- 
tian dynasty, or of the fifteenth century before Christ ; a period 
when, as we learn from Egyptian monuments, there was a close 
connection between Assyria and Egypt. — Layard's Babylon and 
Nineveh, p. 239-240. 

^ Layard's Babi/ 1 on and Nineveh, p. 157, 1G6. 

2 Hist, of Mum., 53-5; AVilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 261, note. 

3 Wilkin. Anct. Egypt., ii. (2d S.) 156. 



some divine power in them : which ceremoniall devotion 
of theirs, Appion g^iveth a subtile and curious reason of; 
for he doth collect, that there is some resemblance between 
the operations and works of the Sun, and this flie; and this 
he setteth abroad, for to colour and excuse his country- 

Dr. Molyneux, in the conclusion of his article on the 
swarms of beetles that appeared in Ireland in 1688, makes 
the following allusion to the worship of the Scarabaeus by 
the Egyptians: "It is also more than probable that this 
same destructive Beetle (Hedge-chafer — Melontha vulgaris) 
we are speaking of, was that very kind of Scarabaeus thia 
idolatrous Egyptians of old had in such high veneration, 
as to pay divine worship to it. For nothing can be sup- 
posed more natural, than to imagine a Nation addicted to 
Polytheism, as the Egyptians were, in a Country fre- 
quently suffering great Mischief and Scarcity from Swarms 
of devouring Insects, should from a strong Sense and Fear 
of Evil to come (the common Principle of Superstition and 
Idolatry) give sacred worship to the visible Authors of 
these their Sufferings, in hopes to render them more pro- 
pitious for the future. Thus 'tis allowed on all hands, that 
the same People adored as a God the ravenous Crocodile of 
the River Nile ; and thus the Romans, though more polite 
and civilized in their Idolatry, Febrem ad minas nocendam 
venerabantur, eamqiie variis Templis extructis colebant, 
says Valerius Maximus, L. 2, c. 5."^ 

It is curious to observe how the reason is affected by cir- 
cumstances. The mind of Dr. Molyneux being long engaged 
upon the destruction caused by insects, worked itself insen- 
sibly into certain grooves, out of which it was afterward im- 
possible to act. The same maybe remarked of Mr. Henry 
Baker, as appears from his article, " On a Beetle that lived 
three years without Food." In conclusion, this gentleman 
says, "As the Egyptians were a wise and learned people, 
we cannot imagine they would show so much regard to a 
creature of such a mean appearance (as the Beetle) with- 
out some extraordinary reason for so doing. And is it not 
possible they might have discovered its being able to subsist 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxx 11 ; Holland, ii. 395. K. 

3 Phil. Trans. Abridg., ii. 785; Gent. Mag., xix. 264-5. 


a very long time without any visible sustenance, and there- 
fore made it a symbol of the Deity ?"^ 


1 Phil. Trans. Ahridg., ix. 11. Concerning the worship of animals 
in general by the Egyptians, the following remarks in a note may not 
be inappropriate, as they embrace the worship of the Scarabajus. 

1. A class of animals, to which may be referred the cow, dog, 
sheep, and ibis, were at first naturally protected and respected out 
of gratitude for the benefits derived from them. But in time, it is 
supposed, this respect, by unthoughtful descendants believing too 
implicitly the teachings of their fathers, was gradually enlarged to 
so great extent that it became reverence, and at last, perhaps after 
centuries, worship. For example, at A time, the ibis is respected 
on account of its destroying noxious serpents; at B, reverenced; 
and at C, worshiped 

2. When at C time, the ibis is worshiped, suppose the masses have 
lost the reason (which in the case of the Egyptians is an allowable 
supposition, since it is an historical fact that but the initiated knew 
tlie reasons for their manner of worship), and serpents are its food, is 
it plain then that if the food be taken away the sacred bird cannot 
live? Hence at Ctime are serpents preserved and protected as food 
for the ibis; and as this protecting care increases as above, till at D 
they are reverenced, and at E worshiped. To this second class may 
be referred the crocodile, which was preserved, etc. as food for the 
ichneumon, a sacred animal of the first class. 

3. Analogies between animals, and even plants, and certain sources 
of goodness, or objects of wonder, as the sun, and motion of the 
stars, were at A time, noticed; at B, respected or reverenced; and 
atC, worshiped. Thus, among plants, became the onion sacred, from 
the resemblance of the laminae which compose it, in a transverse 
section, to circles — to the orbits of the planets. And thus the Scara- 
baeus from the analogies between its movements and shape and the 
motions of the sun, traced, as we have before remarked on the au- 
thority of several ancient writers, became also an object of adora- 

4. A fourth reason may also be given, which follows as a conse- 
quence of the latter. If such analogy, as. for example, that between 
the beetle and the sun, had been observed in the time of picture and 
hieroglyphic writing, to represent the sun, the beetle would have 
been taken. Now, it is a well-authenticated fact, that these hiero- 
glyphics in time became sacred, and, if the beetle was found among 
them, it for this, if for no other reason, would have been looked upon 
with the same veneration. 

5. Good men, too, to preserve the lives of animals oftentimes wan- 
tonly taken, introduce them into fables and poetry, and connect 
pleasing tales with them. The "Babes in the Wood" have so fixed 
the respect for the tameness of the robin, that it is even now deemed 
a sacrilege with our boys to stone this bird. And may there not 
have been such good men, and such tender stories, among the Egyp- 
tians, and the remembrance of whom and which long lost by the 
lapse of time? 


In parts of Europe the ladies string together for neck- 
laces the burnished s^iolet-colored thighs of the Geotrupes 
stercorainus and such like brilliant species of insects.^ '^ 

Under GopiHs molossus, in Donovan's Insects of China, 
it is mentioned that the larvae of the larger kinds of coleop- 
terous insects, abounding in unctuous moisture, are much 
esteemed as food by the Chinese " Under the roots of 
the canes is found a large, white grub, which, being fried 
in oil, is eaten as a dainty by the Chinese." Donovan sug- 
gests that perhaps this is the larvae of the Scarabaeus 
(coprHs) molossus, the general description and abundance 
of which insect in China favors such an opinion.^ 

Insects belonging to the family Scarabseidae have been 
used also in medicine. Pliny says the green Scarabaeus has 
the property of rendering the sight more piercing of those 
who gaze upon it, and that hence, engravers of precious 
stones use these insects to steady their sight.^ 

Again, he says : "And many there be, who, by the direc- 
tions of magicians, carrie about them in like manner," i.e. 
tied up in a linen cloth with a red string, and attached to 
the body, " for the quartan ague, one of these flies or bee- 
tles that use to roll up little balls of earth."* We learn 
from Schroder (v. 345) that the powder of the Scarabaeus 
pilurarius " sprinkled upon a protuberating eye or pro- 
lapsed anus, is said to aftbrd singular relief;" and that "an 
oil prepared of these insects by boihng in oil till they are 
consumed, and applied to the blind haemorrhoids, by means 
of a piece of cotton, is said to mitigate the pains thereof."^ 
Fabricius states that the Scarabaeus (copris) molossus is 
medicinally employed in China.^ 

We quote the following from Moufet : " The Beetle en- 
graven on an emerald yeelds a present remedy against all 
witchcrafts, and no less effectual than that moly which Mer- 
cury once gave Ulysses. Nor is it good only against 
these, but it is also very useful, if any one be about to go 
before the king upon any occasion, so that such a ring 
ought especially to be worn by them that intend to beg of 

1 Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 33. 

2 Ins. of China, p. 6. 

3 Nat. 'llist., xxix. 6 (38). 

* Nat. Hist., XXX. 11 (30). Holland, Trans., ii. 390. 

6 James' Med. Diet. 

6 Donovan's Ins. of China, p. G. 


noblemen some jolly preferment or some rich province. It 
keeps away likewise the head-ach, which, truly, is no small 
mischief, especially to great drinkers 

" The magicians will scarce finde credit, when foolishly 
rather than truly, they report and imagine that the precious 
stone Chelonitis, that is adorned with golden spots, put 
into hot water with a Beetle, raiseth tempests. Pliny, I. 
3T,c. 10. 

" The eagle, the Beetle's proud and cruel enemy, does no 
less make havock of and devour this creature of so mean 
a rank, yet as soon as it gets an opportunity, it returneth 
like for like, and sufficiently punisheth that spoiler. For it 
flyeth up nimbly into her nest with its fellow-soldiers, the 
Scara-beetles, and in the absence of the old she eagle bring- 
eth out of the nest the eagle's eggs one after another, till 
there be none left; which falling, and being broken, the 
young ones, while they are yet unshapen, being dashed 
miserably against the stones, are deprived of hfe, before 
they can have any sense of it. Neither do I see indeed 
how she should more torment the eagle than in her young 
ones. For some who slight the greatest torments of their 
own body, cannot endure the least torments of their sons."^ 

Pliny says that in Thrace, near Olynthus, there is a 
small locality, the only one in which the beetle^ cannot ex- 
ist ; from which circumstance it has received the name of 
** Cautharolethus — Fatal-to-the-Beetle."^ 

Dynastidae — Hercules-beetle, etc. 

The Hercules-beetle, Dynasfes Hercules, is four, five, 
or even sometimes six inches long, and a native of South 
America. It is said great numbers of these immense in- 
sects are sometimes seen on the Mammsea-tree, rasping off 
the rind of the slender branches by working nimbly round 
them with their horns, till they cause the juice to flow, 
which they drink to intoxication, and thus fall senseless to 

1 Theair. Ins., p. 160. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1012. 

2 Cuvier suggests that the Scarabseus nasicornis of Linnasus, which 
haunts dead bark, or the S. auratus, may be the insect here referred to. 

3 Nat. Hist., xi. 28 (34). 



the p^rouncl ! These stories, however, as the learned Fabri- 
cius has well observed, seem not very probable ; since the 
thoracic horn, being bearded on its lower surface, would 
undoubtedly be made bare by this operation.^ 

Col. St. Clair, though he confesses he never could take 
one of these insects in the act of sawing off the limbs of 
trees, or ascertain what they worked for, gravely repeats 
the above old story, and says that during the operation they 
make a noise exactly like that of a knife-grinder holding 
steel against the stone of his wheel; but a thousand knife- 
grinders at work at the same moment, he continues, could 
not equal their noise I He calls this beetle hence the knife- 

The Goliath-beetle, Dynasies Goliathus, is said to be 
roasted and eaten by the natives of South America and 

The enormous prices of £30, £40, and even £50 used to 
be asked for these latter beetles a piece; fine specimens for 
cabinets even now bring from five to six pounds.'^ 

The large pulpy larva of a species of Dynastidae — the 
Oryctes rhinoceros, called by the Singhalese Gascooroo- 
ininiya — is, notwithstanding its repulsive aspect, esteemed 
a luxury by the Malabar coolies.^ 

Immediately after mentioning the above fact, Tennent 
records the following interesting superstition respecting a 
beetle when found in a house after sunset : 

"Among the superstitions of the Singhalese arising out 
of their belief in demonology, one remarkable one is con- 
nected with the appearance of a beetle when observed on 
the floor of a dwelling-house after nightfall. The popular 
belief is that in obedience to a certain form of incantation 
(called cooroominiya-pilli) a demon in shape of a beetle is 
sent to the house of some person or family whose destruc- 
tion it is intended to compass, and who presently falls sick 
and dies. The only means of averting this catastrophy is, 
that some one, himself an adept in necromancy, should 
perform a counter-charm, the efi'ect of which is to send 
laack the disguised beetle to destroy his original employer; 
for in such a conjuncture the death of one or the other 

1 Shaw's Zool., vi. 20. Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 

2 St. Clair, West Indies, etc., i. 152. 

3 Simmond, Curiosities of Food, p 295. * Thid. 
5 Tcnneiif. Nat. Hist, of f'n/lon. p. 407. 


is essential to appease the demon whose intervention has 
been invoked. Hence the discomfort of a Singhalese on 
finding a beetle in his house after sunset, and his anxiety 
I to expel but not kill it."^ 

The Dynastes Goliathus, Moufet says, "like to beetles 
(Ateuchus sacer), hath no female, but it shapes its own 
form itself. It produceth its young one from the ground 
by itself, which Joach. Camerarius did elegantly express, 
when he sent to Pennius the shape of this insect out of the 
storehouse of natural things of the Duke of Saxony ; with 
these verses : 

A bee begat me not, nor yet did I proceed 
From any female, but myself I breed. 

For it dies once in a year," continues Moufet, "and from its 
own corruption, like a Phoenix, it lives again (as Moninus 
witnesseth) by heat of the sun. 

A thousand summers' heat and winters' cold 
When she hath felt, and that she doth grow old, 
Her life that seems a burden, in a tomb 
0' spices laid, comes younger in her room."^ 

Melolonthidse — Cock-chafers, 

The family of insects, commonly called Cock-chafers, 
Hedge-chafers, May-bugs, and Dorrs (from the Irish 
dord, humming, buzzing, or from the Anglo-Saxon dora, 
a locust or drone) have been included by Fabricius in the 
genus Melolonlha, — a word which retains an odd notion of 
the Greeks respecting them, viz., that they were produced 
from or with the flowers of apple-trees. It is a name 
also by which the Greeks themselves used to distinguish 
the same kind of insects. 

In Sweden the peasants look upon the grub of the Cock- 
chafer, Melolontha vulgaiHs, as furnishing an unfailing 
prognostic whether the ensuing winter will be mild or 
severe ; if the animal have a bluish hue (a circumstance 

1 Tennent, Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, p. 407. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 152. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1009. 


which arises from its being replete with food), they affirm it 
will be mild, but on the contrary if it be white, the weather 
will be severe : and they carry this so far as to foretell, that 
if the anterior be white and the posterior blue, the cold will 
be most severe at the beginning of the winter. Hence they 
call this grub Bemdrkehe-mask — prognostic worm.^ 

An absurd notion obtains in England that the larvae of 
the Ma3^-bugs are changed into briers.^ 

The following quotation is from the Chronicle of Hol- 
lingshed: "The 24 day of Februarie (15*75), being the 
feast of Saint Matthie, on which dai the faire was kept at 
Tewkesburie, a strange thing happened there. For after a 
floud which was not great, but such as therby the medows 
neere adioning were covered with water, and in the after 
noone there came downe the river of Seuerne great numbers 
of flies and beetles (3IeIoIonlha vulgaris^), such as in sum- 
mer evenings use to strike men in the face, in great heapes, 
a foot thicke above the water, so that to credible mens 
judgement there were scene within a paire of buts length of 
those flies above a hundred quarters. The mils there 
abouts were dammed up with them for the space of foure 
dales after, and then were clensed by digging them out 
with shovels : from whence they came is yet unknowne but 
the dale was cold and a hard frost. "^ 

Such another remarkable phenomenon is recorded to* 
have occurred in Ireland, in the summer of 1688. The 
Cock-chafers, in this instance, were in such immense num- 
bers, "that when," as the chronicler, Dr. Molyneux, relates, 
"towards evening or sunset, they would arise, disperse, 
and fly about, with a strange humming noise, much like 
the beating of drums at some distance ; and in such vast 
incredible numbers, that they darkened the air for the space 
of two or three miles square. The grinding of leaves," he 
continues, "in the mouths of this vast multitude altogether, 
made a sound very much resembling the sawing of timber."^ 

In a short time after the appearance of these beetles in 

-6. Kirb and Sp. Introd., i. 33. 

2 Hist, of Ins. (Murray, 1830) ii. 296. 

3 Chronicles, iv. 326. — The water overflowing the low grounds 
brought the beetles for air to the surface, whence they were swept 
awav by the current. 

4 Phil. Trans. Abridg., ii. 781-3. 


these immense numbers, they had so entirely eaten up and 
destroyed the leaves of the trees, that the whole country, 
for miles around, though in the middle of summer, was left 
as bare as in the depth of winter. 

During the unfavorable seasons of the weather, wliich 
followed this plague, the swine and poultry would watch 
under the trees for the falling of the beetles, and feed and 
fatten upon them ; and even the poorer sort of the country 
people, the country then laboring under a scarcity of pro- 
vision, had a way of dressing them, and lived ujjon them 
as food. In 1695, Ireland was again visited with a plague 
of this same kind.^ 

In Normandy, according to Mouffet, the Cock-chafers 
make their appearance every third year.^ In It 85, many 
provinces of France were so ravaged by them, that a pre- 
mium was offered by the government for the best mode of 
destroying them.^ During this year, a farmer, near Blois, 
employed a number of children and the poorer people to 
destroy the Cock-chafers at the rate of two liards a hun- 
dred, and in a few days they collected fourteen thousand.* 

The county of Norfolk in England seems occasionally to 
have suffered much from the ravages of these insects; and 
Bingley tells us that "about sixty years ago, a farm near 
Norwich was so infested with them, that the farmer and his 
servants affirmed they had gathered eighty bushels of them ; 
and the grubs had done so much injury, that the court of 
the city, in compassion to the poor fellow's misfortune, al- 
lowed him twenty-five pounds."^ 

The seeming blunders and stupidity of these insects have 
long been proverbial, as in the expressions, "blind as a 
beetle," and "beetle-headed." 

Cetoniidae — Rose-chafers. 

A very pretty species of the Cetoniidae, the Agestrata 
luconica, is of a fine brilliant metallic green, and found in 

1 Phil. Trans. Abridg., ii. 782. 

2 Shaw, Zool, vi. 25. 

3 Kii'b. and Sp. Introd., i. 179. 

* Anderson's Recr. in Agric, iii. 420. 
6 Anim. Biog., iii. 233. 


the Philippine Islands. These the ladies of Manilla keep as 
pets in small bamboo cages, and carry them about with them 
wheresoever they may go.^ 

Buprestidae — Burn-cows. 

Many species of the Bupreatidde are decorated with 
highly brilliant metallic tints, like polished gold upon an 
emerald ground, or azure upon a ground of gold; and their 
elytra, or wing-coverings, are employed by the ladies of 
China, and also of England, for the purpose of embroider- 
ing their dresses.^ The Chinese have also attempted imita- 
tions of these insects in bronze, in which they succeed so 
w^ell that the copy may be sometimes mistaken for the 
reality.^ In Ceylon* and throughout India, ^ the golden 
wing-cases of two of this tribe, the Sternocera chrysis and 
S. sternicornis, are used to enrich the embroidery of the 
Indian zenana, while the lustrous joints of the legs are 
strung on silken threads, and form necklaces and bracelets 
of singular brilliancy. The Buprestis atlenuata, ocellata 
and vittata are also wrought into various devices and trin- 
kets by the Indians. The B. vittata is much admired among 
them. This insect is found in great abundance in China, 
and thence exported into India, where it is distributed at a 
low price. ^ 

Mr. Osbeck saw in China a Buprestis maxima, which 
had been dried, and to which were fastened leaden wings 
so painted as to make them look like the wings of butterflies. 
This artificial monster, he adds, was to be sold in the vaults 
among other trifles.^ The B. maxima is set up along with 
Butterflies in small boxes, and vended in the streets of 
Chinese cities.^ 

So many species of the Buprestidae are clothed with 
with such brilliant colors, that Geoffrey has thought proper 

1 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 2 jn^i 

3 Shaw's Zool, vi." 88. 

* Tennent, Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, p. 405. 
5 Donovan, Ins of India, p. 5. 

* Donovan, Ins. of China, p. 13. 

' Travels, i. 384. s jbid., i. 331. 


to designate them all under the generic appellation of Rich- 
ard. The origin of this name is as singular as its applica- 
tion is fantastical. It was originally given to the Jay, in 
consequence of the facility with which that bird was taught 
to pronounce the word.^ 

Modern writers have been much divided in their opinion 
as to what genus the celebrated Buprestis of the ancients 
belongs. All indeed have regarded it as of the order Cole- 
optera, but here their agreement ceases. Linnaeus seems to 
have looked upon it as a species of the genus to which he 
has given its name. Geoffroy thinks it to be a Carabus or 
Cicindela; M. Latrielle, to the genus Meloe ; and Kirby 
and Spence to Mylabri^.^ 

Of this Buprestis, Pliny says : " Incorporat with goat 
sewer, it taketh away the tettars called lichenes that be in 
the face."^ And Dr. James says that insects of this family 
"are all in common, inseptic, exulcerating, and (possess) a 
heating quality ; for which reason, they are mixed up with 
medicines adapted to the cure of a Carcinoma, Lepra, and 
the malignant Lichen. Mixed in emollient pessaries, they 
provoke the Catamenial discharges."* 

The Greeks, it is said, commended the Buprestis in food.^ 

Elateridae — Fire-flies, Spring-beetles, etc. 

In an historical sense, the most interesting species of the 
family Elateridse is the Elater noclilucus, a native of the 
West Indies, and called by the inhabitants, Cucujus. From 
an ancient translation of Peter Martyr's History of the West 
Indies, we make the following quotation, which contains 
many curious facts relative to this insect : 

" Whoso wanteth Cucvji, goeth out of the house in the 
first twilight of the night, carrying a burning fier-brande in 
his hande, and ascendeth the next hillocke, that the Cucvji 
may see it, and swingeth the fier-brande about calling 

1 Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 356. 

2 Introd , i. 15G. 

^ Pliny, XXX. 4 ; Holland, ii. 377. E. 

* iVed. Diet. 5 fi^id. 


Cucvji aloud, and beating the ayre with often calling and 
crying out Cucuji, Cucuji. . . . Beholde the desired num- 
ber of Cucuji, at what time, the hunter casteth the fier- 
brande out of his hande. Some Cucuji sometimes followeth 
the fier-brande, and lighteth on the grounde, then is he 
easily taken. . . . The hunter havinge the hunting CucuiuSj 
returneth home, and shutting the doore of the house, letteth 
the praye goe. The Cucuius loosed, swiftly flyeth about 
the whole house seeking gnatts, under their hanging bedds, 
and about the faces of them that sleepe, whiche the gnattes 
used to assayle, they seem to execute the office of watch- 
men, that such as are shut in, may quietly rest. Another 
pleasant and profitable commodity proceedeth from the 
Cucuji. As many eyes as every Cucuius openeth, the 
host enjoyeth the light of so many candles : so that the 
Inhabitants spinne, sewe, weave, and daunce by the light 
of the flying Cucuji. The Inhabitants think that the 
Cucuius is delighted with the harmony and melodic of 
their singing, and that he also exerciseth his motion in the 
ayre according to the action of their dancing. . , . Our men 
also read and write. by that light, which always continueth 
untill hee have gotten enough gnatts whereby he may be 
well fedd. . . . There is also another wonderfull commodity 
proceeding from the Cucuius: the Islanders, appoynted by 
our menu, goe with their good will by night with 2 Cucuji 
tyed to the great tooes of their feete : (for the travailer^ 
goeth better by direction of the lights of the Cucuji, then 
if hee brought so many candels with him, as the Cucuji 
open eyes) he also carryeth another Cucuius in his hande 
to seeke the Utiae by night (Utiae are a certayne kind of 
Cony, a little exceeding a mouse in bignesse.) .... They 
also go a fishing by the lights of the Cucuji. ... In sport, 
and merriment, or to the intent to terrific such as are afifrayed 
of every shaddow, they say that many wanton wild fel- 
lowes sometimes rubbed their faces by night with the fleshe 
of a Cucuius being killed, with purpose to meete their neigh- 
bors with a flaming countenance .... for the face being 
annointed with the lumpe or fleshy parte of the Cucuius, 
shineth like a flame of fire.'" 

1 Peruvians travel by the light of the Cucujus Feruvianus. — See 
Kirby's Wond. Museum, ii. 151. 

2 Jlist. of West Indies, p. 274. 


At Cumana, the use of the Cucujus is forbidden, as the 
young Spanish ladies used to cany on a correspondence at 
night with their lovers by means of the light derived from 

Captain Stedman tells us, that one of his sentinels, one 
night, called out that he saw a negro, with a lighted tobac- 
co-pipe, cross a creek near by in a canoe. At which alarm 
they lost no time in leaping out of their hammocks, and 
were not a little mortified when they found the pipe was 
nothing more than a Fire-fly on the wing.^ 

An individual of this species, brought to Paris in some 
wood, in the larva or nymph state, there underwent its 
metamorphosis, and by the light which it emitted, excited 
the greatest surprise among many of the inhabitants of the 
Faubourg St. Antoine, to whom such a phenomenon had 
hitherto been unknown.^ 

When Cortes and Narvaez were at war with one another 
in Mexico, Bernal Diaz relates "that one night in the midst 
of darkness numbers of shining Beetles (E later 7ioctilucus) 
kept continually flying about, which Narvaez's men mistook 
for the lighted matches of our fire-arms, and this gave them 
a vast idea of the number of our matchlocks."* Thomas 
Campanius tells us that one night the Cucuji frightened all 
the soldiers at Fort Christina, in New Sweden (Pennsyl- 
vania ?) : they thought they were enemies advancing to- 
ward them with lighted torches.^ Another such like story, 
which is not incredible by any means, is told us by Moufifet. 
He says that when Sir Thomas Cavendish and Sir Robert 
Dudley first landed in the West Indies, and saw an infinite 
number of moving lights in the woods, which were merely 
these Elaters, they supposed that the Spaniards were ad- 
vancing upon them with lighted matches, and immediately 
betook themselves to their ships.^ 

The Indians of the Carribbee Islands, Ogleby remarks, 
" anoint their bodies all over (at certain solemnities wherein 
candles are forbidden) with the juice squeezed out of them 

1 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 

2 Stedm. Surinam, i. 140. 

3 Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 321, 
* Conq. of Mex., i. 327. 

5 Hist, of New Swed., p. 162. 
*> Theatr. Insect., p. 112. 


(Cucuji), which causes them to shine hke a flame of fire."^ 
And in the Spanish Colonies, on certain festival days in 
the month of June, these insects are collected in great num- 
bers, and tied as decorations all over the garments of the 
3^oung people, who gallop through the streets on horses 
similarly ornamented, producing on a dark evening the 
effect of a large moving body of light. On such occasions 
the lover displays his gallantry by decking his mistress 
with these living gems.^ 

At the present day, the poorer classes of Cuba and the 
other West India Islands, make use of these luminous in- 
sects for lights in their houses. Twenty or thirty of them 
put into a small wicker-work cage, and dampened a little 
with water, will produce quite a brilliant light. Through- 
out these islands, the Cucujus is worn by the ladies as a 
most fashionable ornament. As many as fifty or a hun- 
dred are sometimes worn on a single ball-room dress. 
Capt. Stuart tells me he once saw one of these insects upon 
a lady's white collar, which at a little distance rivaled the 
Kohinoor in splendor and beauty. The insect is fastened 
to the dress by a pin through its body, and only worn so 
long as it lives, for it loses its light when dead. 

The statement of Humboldt is, that at the present day 
in the habitations of the poorer classes of Cuba, a dozen of 
Cucuji placed in a perforated gourd sufiSce for a light during 
the night. By shaking the gourd quickly, the insect is 
roused, and lights up its luminous disks. The inhabitants 
employ a truthful and simple expression, in saying that a 
gourd filled with Cucuji is an ever-lighted torch ; and in 
fact it is only extinguished by the death of the insects, 
which are easily kept alive with a little sugar cane. A 
lady in Trinidad told this great traveler, that during a long 
and painful passage from Costa Firme, she had availed 
herself of these phosphorescent insects whenever she wished 
to give the breast to her child at night. The captain of 
the ship would not permit any other light on board at 
night, for fear of the privateers.^ 

Southy has happily introduced the Cucujus in his 

1 Hist, of Amer., p. 378. 

2 Walton, Pres. St. of Span. Col., i. 128. 
' Humboldt's Cuba, p. 395. 


"Madoc" as furnishing the lamp by which Coatel rescued 
the British hero from the hands of the Mexican priests : 

She beckon'd and descended, and drew out 
From underneath her vest a cage, or net 
It rather might be called, so fine the twigs 
Which knit it, where, confined, two fire-flies gave 
Their lustre. By that light did Madoc first 
Behold the features of his lovely guide, 

Darwin says : " In Jamaica, at some seasons of the year, 
the Fire-flies are seen in the evening in great abundance. 
When they settle on the ground, the bull-frog greedily de- 
vours them, which seems to have given origin to a curious, 
though very cruel, method of destroying these animals : 
if red-hot pieces of charcoal be thrown toward them in the 
dusk of the evening, they leap at them, and hastily swal- 
low them, mistaking them for Fire-flies, and are burnt to 
death." (!y 

Beetles belonging to the family Elateridse have been so 
called from a peculiar power they have of leaping up like 
a tumbler when placed on their backs, and for this reason 
they have received the English appellations of Spring-bee- 
tles and Skip-jacks, and from the noise which the operation 
makes when they leap, they are also called Snap, Watch, or 
Click-beetle, and likewise Blacksmiths. 

If a Blacksmith beetle enters your house, a quarrel will 
ensue which may end in blows. 

This superstition obtains in Maryland. 

Lampyridae. — Glow-worms. 

Antonius Thylesius Bonsentinus, following his elegant 
description of the Glow-worm, gives a pretty fable of its 
origin. As translated in Moufet's Theater of Insects, his 
words are these : 

This little fly shines in the air alone, 
Like sparks of fire, which when it was unknown 
To me a boy, I stood then in great fear, 
Durst not attempt to touch it, or come near. 

1 Saturday Mag., ix. 229. 


May be this worm from shining in the night, 
Borrowed its name, shining like candle bright. 
The cause is one, but divers are the names, 
It shines or not, according as she frames 
Herself to fly or stand; when she doth fly, 
You would believe 'twere sparkles in the skie, 
At a great distance you shall ever finde 
Prepar'd with light and lanthorn all this kinde. 
Darkness cannot conceal her, round about 
Her candle shines, no winds can blow it out. 
Sometimes she flies as though she did desire 
Those that pass by to observe her fire: 
"Which being nearer, seem to be as great. 
As sparks that fly when smiths hot iron beat. 
When Pluto ravish'd Proserpine, that rape. 
For she was waiting on her, changed her shape, 
And since that time, she flyeth in the night 
Seeking her out with torch and candle light. ^ 

The following anecdote is related by Sir J. E. Smith, of 
the effect of the first sight of the Italian Glow-worms upon 
some Moorish ladies ignorant of such appearances. These 
females had been taken prisoners at sea, and, until they 
could be ransomed, lived in a house in the outskirts of 
Genoa, where they were frequently visited by the respect- 
able inhabitants of the city ; a party of whom, on going 
one evening, were surprised to hud the house closely shut 
up, and their Moorish friends in the greatest consternation. 
On inquiring into the cause, they found that some Glow- 
worms — Fygolampia Italica — had found their way into the 
building, and that the ladies within had taken it into their 
heads that these brilliant guests were no other than the 
troubled spirits of their relations ; of which curious idea it 
was some time before they could be divested. — The common 
people of Italy have a superstition respecting these insects 
somewhat similar, believing that they are of a spiritual 
nature, and proceed out of the graves, and hence carefully 
avoid them.'^ 

Cardan, Albertus, Gaudentinus, Mizalduo, and many 
others have asserted that perpetual lights can be produced 
from the Glow-worm; and that waters distilled from this 
insect afford a lustre in the night. It is needless to say 
these assertions are without foundation.^ 

1 Tkeatr. Ins., p. 111. Topsel's Ilisf. of Beasts, p. 977. 

'■^ Tour on the Continent, 2d. Edit., iii. 85. 

3 Browne's Vulg. Err., B. iii. c. 17. Works, ii. 531. 


In India, the ladies have recourse to Fire-flies for orna- 
ments for their hair, when they take their evening walks. 
They inclose them in nets of gauze.^ And the beaux of 
Italy, Sir J. E. Smith tells us, are accustomed in the summer 
evenings to adorn the heads of the ladies with Glow-worms, 
by sticking them also in their hair.^ 

Never kill a Glow-worm, if you do, the country people 
say, you will put "the light out of your house," — i.e. 
happiness, prosperity, or whatever blessing you may be en- 

A Glow-worm, in your path, denotes brilliant success in 
all your undertakings. If one enters a house, one of the 
heads of the family will shortly die. These superstitions 
obtain in Maryland. 

Of the Glow-worm — Noctiluca terrestris, Col. Ecphr., i. 
38 — Dr. James says: "The whole insect is used in medicine, 
and recommended by some against the Stone. Cardan as- 
cribes an anodyne virtue to it."^ 

Mr. Ray, in his travels through the State of Yenice, says ; 
"A discovery made by a certain gentleman, and communi- 
cated to me by Francis Jessop, Esq., is, that those reputed 
meteors, called in Latin Ignis fatui, and known in Eng- 
land by the conceited names of Jack ivith a Lanthorn, and 
Will ivilh a Wisp, are nothing else but swarms of these 
flying Glow-worms. Which, if true, we may give an easy 
account of those phenomena of these supposed fires, viz., 
their sudden motion from place to place, and leading travel- 
ers that follow them into bogs and precipices."^ It has been 
suggested^ also that the mole-cricket, Gryllotalpa vulgaris,^ 
which in its nocturnal peregrinations was supposed to be 
luminous, is this notorious "Will-o'-the-wisp." 

Pliny says : " When Glow-worms appear, it is a common 

1 Kirb. aud Sp. Introd , i. 317. 

2 Tour on Continent, iii. 85. 2d Edit. 
5 Med. Diet. 

4 Harris' Col. of Voy. and Trav., ii. G88. 

5 Harris, Farm Insects, p. 372. 

6 This insect lias received its English names, of Mule-cricket and 
Earth-crab, from its burrowing like a mole, and some species of W. 
Indian crabs; and, from its supposed jarring song at night, it is 
also called Eve-churr, Churr-worm, and Jarr-worm. — Ibid. 



sign of the ripenesse of barley, and of sowing raijlet and 
pannick And Mantuan sang to the same tune : 

Then is the time your barley for to mow, 

When Glow-worms with bright wings themselves do show."^ 

Ptinidse — Death-watch, etc. 

The common name oi Death-watch, given to the Anobium 
fesselntum, sufficiently announces the popular prejudice 
against this insect; and so great is this prejudice, that, as 
says an editor of Cuvier's works, the fate of many a nerv- 
ous and superstitious patient has been accelerated by listen- 
ing, in the silence and solitude of night, to this imagined 
knell of his approaching dissolution. ^ The learned Sir 
Thomas Browne considered the superstition connected with 
the Death-watch of great importance, and remarks that 
"the man who could eradicate this error from the minds of 
the people would save from many a cold sweat the meticu- 
lous heads of nurses and grandmothers,"^ for such persons 
are firm in the belief, that 

The solemn Death-watch clicks the hour of death. 

The witty Dean of St. Patrick endeavored to perform 
this useful task by means of ridicule. And his description, 
suggested, it would appear, by the old song of "A cobbler 
there was, and he lived in a stall," runs thus : 

A wood worm 

That lies in old wood, like a hare in her form, 

With teeth or with claws, it will bite, it will scratch ; 

And chambermaids christen this worm a Death-watch; 

Because, like a watch, it always cries click. 

Then woe be to those in tlie house that are sick! 

For, sure as a gun, they will give up the ghost. 

If the maggot cries click when it scratches the post. 

But a kettle of scalding hot water injected, 

Infallibly cures the timber affected : 

The omen is broken, the danger is over, 

The maggot will die, and the sick will recover. 

1 Moufet, Theafr. Ins., p. 110. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 977. 

2 Cuvier, A?k King — Ins., 1, 382. 
8 Cf. Works, ii. 375. 


Grose, in his Antiquities, thus expresses this superstition : 
"The clicking of a Death-watch is an omen of the death of 
! some one in the house wherein it is heard." Watts says: 
;"We learn to presage approaching death in a family by 
f ravens and little worms, which we therefore call a Death- 
watch."^ Gay, in one of his Pastorals, thus alludes to it: 

i When Blonzelind expired, .... 

The solemn Death-watch click'd the hour she died. 2 

And Train, — 

An' when she heard the Dead-watch tick, 

She raving wild did say, 
<'I am thy murderer, my child; 

I see thee, come away." 

And Pope, — 

Misers are muck-worms, silkworms beaux, 
And Death watches physicians. ^ 

" It wil^ take," says Mrs. Taylor, a writer in Harper's 
i New Monthly Magazine, "a force unknown at the present 
time to physiological science to eradicate the feeling of ter- 
ror and apprehension felt by almost every one on hearing 
this small insect." She herself, an entomologist, confesses to 
have been very much annoyed at times by coming in contact 
with this "strange nuisance;" but she was cured by an 
overapplication. "I went to pay a visit," says she, "to a 
I friend in the country. The first night I fancied I should 
have gone mad before morning. The walls of the bed-room 
were papered, and from them beat, as it were, a thousand 
' watches — tick, tick, tick ! Turn which way I would, cover 
I my head under the bedclothes to suffocation, every pulse in 
! my body had an answering tick, tick, tick ! But at last the 
! welcome morning dawned, and early I was down in the 
\ library ; even here every book, on shelf above shelf, was 
riotous with tick, tick, tick ! At the breakfast table, be- 
neath the plates, cups, and dishes, beat the hateful sound. 
In the parlor, the withdrawing-room, the kitchen, nothing 

1 Johnson's Enff. Diet. 

24th Past., 1. 101. 

5 In Kirby's Wonderful Museum, ii. 309, there is an article on the 
Death-watch, headed "A curious Description and Explanation of the 
Death-watch, so commonly listened to with such dread." 


but tick, tick I The house was a huge clock, with thousands 
of pendulums ticking from morning till night. I was care- 
ful not to allow my great discomfort to annoy others. I ar- 
gued what they could tolerate, surely I could ; and in a few 
days habit had rendered the fearful, dreaded ticking a posi- 
tive necessity."^ 

The Death-watch commences its clicking, which is nothing 
more than the call or signal by which the male and female 
are led to each other, chiefly when spring is far advanced. 
The sound is thus produced : Raising itself upon its hind 
legs, with the body somewhat inclined, it beats its head with 
great force and agility upon the plane of position. The 
prevailing number of distinct strokes which it beats in suc- 
cession is from seven to nine or eleven ; which circumstance, 
thinks Mr. Shaw, may perhaps still add, in some degree, to 
the ominous character which it bears. These strokes follow 
each other quickly, and are repeated at uncertain intervals. 
In old houses, where these insects abound, they may be heard 
in warm weather during the whole day.^ 

Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 203, most sensibly 
observes, that " there are many things that ignorance causeth 
multitudes to take for prodigies. I have had many discreet 
friends that have been affrighted with the noise called a 
Death-watch, whereas I have since, near three years ago, oft 
found by trial that it is a noise made upon paper by a little, 
nimble, running worm, just like a louse, but whiter and 
quicker; and it is most usually behind a paper pasted to a 
wall, especially to wainscot; and it is rarely, if ever, heard 
but in the heat of summer." Our author, however, relapses 
immediately into his honest credulity, adding : " But he who 
can deny it to be a prodigy, which is recorded by Melchior 
Adamus, of a great and good man, who had a clock-watch 
that had layen in a chest many years unused; and when he 
lay dying, at eleven o'clock, of itself, in that chest, it struck 
eleven in the hearing of many." 

In the British Apollo, 1710, ii. No. 86, is the following 
query : " Why Death-watches, crickets, and weasels do come 
more common against death than at any other time ? A. 
We look upon all such things as idle superstitions, for were 

1 Harper's Maff., xxiii. 775. 

■•' Shaw, Zool., vi. 34. Nat. Misc., iii. 104. 


anything in them, bakers, brewers, inhabitants of old houses, 
&c., were in a melancholy condition." 

To an inquiry, ibid. vol. ii. No, 70, concerning a Death- 
watch, whether you suppose it to be a living creature, an- 
swer is given : " It is nothing but a little worm in the wood." 

" How many people have I seen in the most terrible pal- 
pitations, for months together, expecting every hour the 
approach of some calamity, only by a little worm, which 
breeds in old wainscot, and, endeavoring to eat its way out, 
makes a noise like the movement of a watch !" Secret 
Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbell, 8vo. Lond. 
1732, p. 61.1 

Authors were formerly not agreed concerning the insect 
from which this sound of terror proceeded, some attributing 
it to a kind of wood-louse, others to a spider. 

M. Peiguot mentions an instance where, in a public 
library that was but little frequented, twenty-seven folio 
volumes were perforated in a straight line by one and the 
same larva of a small insect {Anohium pertiiiax ov A. stria- 
turn ?) in such a manner that, on passing a cord through the 
perfectly round hole made by the insect, these twenty-seven 
volumes could be raised at once.^ 

Bostrichidae — Typographer-beetles. 

The Typographer -beetle, Bostrichus typographus, is 
so called on account of a fancied resemblance between the 
paths it erodes 'and letters. This insect bores into the fir, 
and feeds upon the soft inner bark; and in such vast num- 
bers that 80,000 are sometimes found in a single tree. The 
ravages of this insect have long been known in Germany 
under the name of Wu7^m trokniss — decay caused by worms; 
and in the old liturgies of that country the animal itself is 
formally mentioned under its common appellation, The 
Turk. About the year 1665, this pest was particularly 
prevalent and caused incalculable mischief. In the begin- 
ning of the last century it again showed itself in the Hartz 
forests; it reappeared in 1757, redoubled its injuries in 

1 Brand's Pop. Antiq.. iii. 22G-7. 

2 Home's Introd. to Bibliog..^ i. 311. 


1709, and arrived at its height in 1783, when the number of 
trees destroyed by it in the above-mentioned forests alone 
was calculated at a million and a half, and the whole num- 
ber of insects at work at once one hundred and twenty 
thousand millions. The inhabitants were threatened with 
a total suspension of the working of their mines, for want 
of fuel. At this period these Bostrichi, when arrived at 
their perfect state, migrated in swarms like bees into Suabia 
and Franconia. At length a succession of cold and moist 
seasons, between the years 1784 and 1789, very sensibly 
diminished the numbers of this scourge. In 1790 it again 
appeared, however, and so late as 1796 there was great rea- 
son to fear for the few fir-trees that were left.^ 

Cantharidae — Blister-flies. 

Many species of this family of insect possess strong vesi- 
cating powers, and are employed externally in medicine to 
produce blisters, and internally as a powerful stimulant. 
Taken internally, Pliny considered them a poison, and 
mentions the following instance of their causing death : 
Cossinus, a Roman of the Equestrian order, well known 
for his intimate friendship with the Emperor Nero, being 
attacked with lichen, that prince sent to Egypt for a 
physician to cure him ; who recommended a potion pre- 
pared from Cantharides, and the patient was killed in con- 
sequence.^ But there is no doubt, however, Pliny adds, 

1 Wilhelm's Recr.from Nat. Hist., quot. by Latrielle, Hist. Nat,, ix. 
194. Quot. by Kii-b. and Sp. Introd., i. 213. Carpenter, Zool., ii. 133. 

2 Brookes informs us that Dr. Greenfield, a practitioner in Lon- 
don, was sent to Newgate, by the college, for having given Can- 
tharides inwardly. This happened in the year 1698 ; but he was 
soon after released, by a superior authority, when he published a 
work upon the good ett'ects of these insects taken inwardly for 
strangury, and other disorders of the kidneys and bladder. We 
are also told by Ambrose Parry, that a courtezan, having invited a 
young man to supper, had seasoned some of the dishes with the 
powder of Cantharides, Avhich the very next day produced such an 
effect, that he died with an evacuation of blood, which the physi- 
cians were not able to stop. Many other instances might be 
brought, continues Brookes, of persons that have been either 


that applied externally they are useful, in combination with 
juice of Taminian grapes, and the suet of a sheep or she- 
goat. They are extremely efficacious, too, continues Pliny, 
for the cure of leprosy and lichens ; and act as an emmena- 
gogue and diuretic, for which last reason Hippocrates used 
to prescribe them for dropsy.^ 

The vesicatory principle of the Blister-fly is called Can- 
tharidme, and has been ascertained by experiment to reside 
more particularly in the wings than in other parts of the 
body. Our officinal insect is the Gantharis vesicatorHa ; 
and since the principal supply is from Spain, we call them 
commonly Spanish-flies. In Italy, the Mylahris cichorii, 
a native of the south of Europe, is used ; and the M.jms- 
tulata, a native of China, is used by the Chinese, who also 
export it to Brazil, where it is the only species employed. 
In India also a species of Meloe is used,^ possessing all the 
properties of the Spanish -fly. 

At one time in Germany, the genus Meloe — Oil-beetles 
(so called from their emitting from the joints of the legs an 
oily yellowish hquor, when alarmed) — were extolled as a 
specific against hydrophobia ; and the oil which is expressed 
from them is used in Sweden, with great success, in the 
cure of rheumatism, by anointing the aff'ected part.^ Dr. 
James thus enumerates the medicinal virtues of these in- 
sects : " The Oil-beetle (Scarabaeus unctuosus of Schroder) 
is much of the nature of Cantharides, forces urine and blood, 
and is of extraordinary efficacy against the bite of a mad 
dog. Taken in powder, it cures the vari, or wandering 
gout, as we are assured by Wierus. The liquor is, by 
some, esteemed of efficacy in wounds; it is an ingredient 
also in plaisters for the pestilential bubo and carbuncle, and 
in antidotes ; an oil is prepared by infusion of the Uving 

killed, or brought to death's door, by a wanton use of these Flies, 
which had been given them privately, with a design to cause love. 
Some go so far as to affirm, that people have been thrown into a 
fever, only by sleeping under trees on which were a great number 
of Cantharides; and Mr. Boyle informs us, after autliors worthy of 
credit, that some persons have felt considerable pains about the 
neck of the bladder, only by holding Cantharides in their hands. — 
Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 50-1. 

1 Pliny, JVat. Hist., xxix. 30. 

2 Asiatic Res., v. 213. 

* Baird's Cxjclop. of Nat. Sci. 


animals in common oil, which some use instead of oil of 
Scorpions."^ In some parts of Spain, they are mingled 
with the Cantharides, for the same purposes as these latter 
insects. Farriers also employed, in some cases, oil in which 
these insects had been macerated.^ 

Pliny tells us that Cato of Utica was one time reproached 
for selling poison, because when disposing of a royal prop- 
erty by auction, he sold a quantity of Cantharides, at the 
price of sixty thousand sesterces.^ 

The natives of Guiana and Jamaica make ear-rings and 
other ornaments of the elytra, or wing-coverings, of the 
Gantharis maxima; the brilliant metallic colors of which 
beetles, says Sloane, sparkle with an extraordinary lustre, 
when worn by the Indians dancing in the sun.* 

Zoroaster says, that " Cantharides" will not hurt the 
vines, if you macerate some in oil, and apply it to the whet- 
stone on which you are going to set your pruning-knives.^ 

Cantharides are comparatively rare in Germany ; yet we 
are told in the German Ephemerides, says Brookes, that in 
June, 16G1, there were found about the town of Heldeshiem, 
such a great number of them, that they covered all the wil- 
low-trees. Likewise that in May, 1685, when the sky was 
serene and the weather mild, a great number of Cantharides 
were seen to settle upon a privet-tree, and devour all the 
leaves ; but they did not meddle with the flowers. We are 
also told that the country people expect the return of these 
insects every seven years. It is very certain, adds Brookes, 
that such a number of these insects have been together in the 
air, that they appeared like swarms of bees ; and that they 
have so disagreeable smell, that it may be perceived a great 
way off, especially about sunset, though they are not seen 
at that time. This bad smell is a guide for those who make 
it their business to catch them.® 

1 3Ied. Diet. 

2 Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 569. 
« Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxix. 30.- 

* Sloane, Hist, of Jamaica, ii. 206. 
^ Owen's Geoponika, ii. 156. 
« Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 49. 


Tenebrionidse — Meal-worms. 

The larv^ of the Tenebrio violitor, commonly called 
Meal-worms, which are found in carious wood, are bred by 
bird-fanciers, to feed nightingales, and constitute the only 
bait by which these shy birds can be taken : a fact the more 
curious when it is considered that the nightingale, in a state 
of nature, can seldom or never see these larvae. They are 
also used to feed cameleons which are exhibited.^ 

Blapsidae — Church-yard beetle, etc. 

We learn from Linnaeus that in Sweden the appearance 
of the Church-yard beetle, Blaps mortisaga, produces the 
most violent alarm and trepidation among the people, who, 
on account of its black hue and strange aspect, regard it 
as the messenger of pestilence and death. Hence is this 
insect called mortisaga — the prophesier of death.^ 

A common species in Egypt, the Blaps sulcata, is made 
into a preparation which the Egyptian women eat with the 
view of acquiring what they esteem a proper degree of 
plumpness ! The beetle they broil and mash up in clarified 
butter; then add honey, oil of sesame, and a variety of 
aromatics and spices pounded together.^ Fabricius reports 
that the Turkish women also eat this insect, cooked with 
butter, to make them fat. He also tells us that they use it 
in Egypt and the Levant, as a remedy for pains and mala- 
dies in the ears, and against the bite of scorpions.* Carsten 
Niebuhr also mentions this curious practice of the women 
of Turkey, and adds, the women of Arabia likewise make 
use of these insects for the same purpose, taking three of 
them, every morning and evening, fried in butter.^ 

The Blatta mentioned by Pliny is evidently, from his de- 
scription, the Church-yard beetle, Blaps mortisaga, instead 

1 Cuvier, An. Kingd. — Ins., i. 569. 

2 Linn. Faun. Suec, p. 822. 

3 Lane's 3Iod. Egypt., i. 237, ii. 275. 
* Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., i. 568. 

5 Pinkerton's Voy. and Trav., x. 190. 



of the insect we now call by that name — the Cockroach : 
and may very properly be here introduced. "There is 
kind of fattinesse," says this author in the words of his 
translator, Philemon Holland, "to bee found in the Flie or 
insect called Blatta, when the head is plucked off, which, 
if it be punned and mixed with Oile of Roses, is (as they 
say) wonderful good for the ears : but the wooll wherein 
this medicine is enwrapped, and which is put into the ears, 
must not long tarrie there, but within a little while drawne 
forth againe; for the said fat will very soone get life and 
prove a grub or little worme. Some writers there be who 
aflfirme, that two or three of these flies called Blattae sodden 
in oile, make a soveraigne medicine to cure the eares,*and if 
they be stamped and spread upon a linen rag and so ap- 
plied, they will heale the eares, if they be hurt by any bruise 
or contusion : Certes this is but a nastie and ill-favoured 
vermine, howbeit in regard of the manifold and admirable 
properties which naturally it hath, as also of the Industrie 
of our auncestours in searching out the nature of it, I am 
moved to write thereof at large and to the full in this 
place. For they have described many kinds of them. In 
the first place, some of them be soft and tender, which 
being sodden in oile, they have proved by experience to be 
of great efiBcacie in fetching off werts, if they be annointed 
therewith. A second sort there is, which they call Myloe- 
con, because ordinarily it haunteth about mils and bake- 
houses, and there breedeth : these by the report of Muna 
and Picton, two famous Physicians, being bruised (after 
their heads were gone) and applied to a bodie infected with 
the leprosie, cured the same persitely. They of a third 
kind, besides that they bee otherwise ill-favoured ynough, 
Carrie a loathsome and odious smell with them : they are 
sharp rumped and pin buttockt also; howbeit, being in- 
' corporat with the oile of pitch called Pisselason, they have 
healed those ulcers which were thought nunquam sana, and 
incurable. Also within one and twenty daies after this pias- 
tre laid too, it hath been knowne to cure the swelling wens 
called the King's evil : the botches or biles named Pani, 
wounds, contusions, bruises, morimals, scabs, and fellons : 
but then their feet and wings were plucked off and cast 
away. I make no doubt or question, but that some of us 
are so daintie and fine-eared, that our stomacke riseth at 
the hearing onely of such medicines : and yet I assure you, 


Diodorus, a renowned Physician, reporteth, that he has 
given these foure flies inwardly with rozin and honey, for 
the jaundise, and to those that were so streight-winded 

i that they could not draw their breath but sitting upright. 

i See what libertie and power over us have these Physicians, 
who to practise and trie conclusions upon our bodies, may 
exhibit unto their patients, what they list, be it never so 
homely, so it goe under the name of a medicine."^ 

The following extraordinary case of insects introduced 
into the human stomach, which is of rare occurrence, has 
been completely authenticated, both by medical men and 
competent naturalists. It was first published by Dr. 
PickeTls, of Cork, in the Dublin Transactions.^ 

Mary Riordan, aged 28, had been much affected by the 

■ death of her mother, and at one of her many visits to the 
grave seems to have partially lost her senses, having been 
found lying there on the morning of a winter's day, and 
having been exposed to heavy rain daring the night. It 
appears that when she was about fifteen, two popular 
Catholic priests had died, and she was told by some old 
woman, that if she would drink daily, for a certain time, a 
quantity of water, mixed with clay taken from their graves, 
.^lio would be forever secure from disease and sin. So fol- 
lowing this absurd and disgusting prescription, she took 
irom time to time large quantities of the draught; and, 
some time afterward, being atfected with a burning pain in 
the stomach (cardialgia), she began to eat large pieces of 
chalk, which she sometimes also mixed with water and 
drank. In all these draughts, it is most probable, she 
swallowed the eggs of the enormous progenies of apterous, 
dipterous, and coleopterous insects, which she for several 
years continued to throw up alive and moving. Dr. Pickells 
asserts that altogether he himself saw nearly 2000 of these 
larvae, and that there were many he did not see, for, to avoid 

I publicity, she herself destroyed a great number, and many, 

! too, escaped immediately by running into holes in the floor. 
Of this incredible number, the greatest proportion were 
larvae of the Church-yard beetle, Blaps mortlsaga, and of 
a dipterous insect, an Ascarides; and two were specimens 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxix. 6. IIoll., p. 370. - 

2 Trans, of Assoc. Phys. in Ireland, iv., vii., and v., p. 177, 8vo. 
Uubliii, l«:il-b. 


of tlie Meal-worm — the larvae of the Darkling — Tenebrio 
molitor. It may be interesting to learn that, by means of 
turpentine in large doses, this unfortunate woman was at 
length entirely rid of her pests.^ 

Curculionidse — Weevils. 

At Rio Janeiro, the brilliant .Diamond-beetle, Euiimis 
nohilis, is in great request for brooches for gentlemen, and 
ten piasters are often paid for a single specimen. In this 
city many owners send their slaves out to catch insects, so 
that now the rarest and most brilliant species are to be had 
at a comparatively trifling sum. Each of these slaves, when 
he has attained to some adroitness in this operation, may, 
on a fine day, catch in the vicinity of the city as many as 
five or six hundred beetles. So this trade is considered 
there very lucrative, since six milresis (four rix dollars, or 
about fourteen shillings) are paid for the hundred. For 
these splendid insects there is a general demand ; and their 
wing-cases are now sought for the purpose of adorning the 
ladies of Europe — a fashion, it is said, which threatens the 
entire extinction of this beautiful tribe.^ 

Messrs. Kidder and Fletcher tell us that in Brazil "a 
commerce is carried on in artificial flowers made from 
beetles' wings, fish-scales, sea-shells, and feathers, which 
attract the attention of every visitor. These are made," 
they continue, "by the mulheres (women) of almost every 
class, and thus the}' obtain not only pin-money, but some 
amass wealth in the traffic."^ Among the beetles referred 
to by these gentlemen may be placed no doubt the 
Eutimis nohilU. 

Among the largest of the species of this family is the 
Palm-weevil, Calandra palmarum, which is of an uni- 
form black color, and measures more than two inches in 

1 In Kirby's Wonderful Museum, iv. 300, there are several instances 
of living insects being found in the human stomach, quite as extra- 
ordinary as the above. 

2 The Mirror, xxviii. 304. 
8 Hist, of Brazil, p. 346. 


length. Its larva, called the Grou-grou,^ or Cabbage-tree 
worm, which is ver}^ large, Avhite, of an oval shape, resides 
in the tenderest part of the smaller palm-trees, and is con- 
sidered, fried or broiled, as one of the greatest dainties in 
the West Indies. "The tree," says Madame Merian, 
"grows to the height of a man, and is cut off when it be- 
gins to be tender, is cooked hke a cauliflower, and tastes 
better than an artichoke. In the middle of these trees live 
innumerable quantities of worms, which at first are as small 
as a maggot in a nut, but afterward grow to a very large 
size, and feed on the marrow of the tree. These worms 
are laid on the coals to roast, and are considered as a 
highly agreeable food."^ Capt. Stedman tells us these 
larvae are a delicious treat to many people, and that they 
are regularly sold at Paramaribo. He mentions, too, the 
manner of dressing them, which is by frying them in a pan 
with a very little butter and salt, or spitting them on a 
wooden skewer; and, that thus prepared, in taste they par- 
take of all the spices of India — mace, cinnamon, cloves, nut- 
megs, etc.* This gentleman also says he once found con- 
cealed near the trunk of an old tree a " case-bottle filled 
with excellent butter," which the rangers told him the na- 
I tives made by melting and clarifying the fat of this larva.* 
I Dr. Winterbottom states this grub is served up at all the 
luxurious tables of West Indian epicures, particularly of the 
French, as the greatest dainty of the western w^orld.^ 

Dobrizhoflfer doubtless refers to the larva of the Galandra 
palmarum, when he says: "The Spaniards of Santiago in 
Tucuman, when they go seeking honey in the woods, cleave 
certain palm-trees upon their way, and on their return find 
large grubs in the wounded trees, which they fry as a deli- 
cious food."^ The same is said of the Guaraunos of the 
Orinoco — "that they find these grubs in great numbers in 
the palms, which they cut down for the sake of their juice. 
After all has been drawn out that will flow, these grubs 

1 Jamieson gives Grou-grou as a Scottish name for the Corn-grub. 
-Scot. Diet., iii. 510. 

2 Shaw, ZooL, vi. 62. Cuvier, An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 80. 
^ Stedm. Surinam, ii. 23. 

^ Ibid., ii. 115. 

5 AccL of the Sierra Leone Africans, i. 314, note. 

6 Travels, i. 410. 



breed in the incisions, and the trunk produces, as it were, a 
second crop.'" 

The Creoles of the Island of Barbados, says Schom- 
burgk, consider the Grou-grou worm a great delicacy when 
roasted, and say it resembles in taste the marrow of beef- 

Antonio de TTlloa, in his Noticias Ame.ricanas, says this 
grub has the singular property of producing milk in women.^ 
The Argentina, the historic poem of Brazil, adds an asser- 
tion which is more certainly fabulous, viz., that they first 
become butterflies, and then mice.* 

They have a similar dainty in Java in the larva of some 
large beetle, which the natives call Moutouke. — "A thick, 
white maggot which lives in wood, and so eats it away, that 
the backs of chairs, and feet of drawers, although appar- 
ently sound, are frequently rotten within, and fall into dust 
when it is least expected. This creature may sometimes 
be heard at work. It is as big as a silk-worm, and very 
white, ... a mere lump of fat. Thirty are roasted 
together threaded on a little stick, and are delicate eating."^ 

Julian speaks of an Indian king, who, for a dessert, in- 
stead of fruit set before his Grecian guests a roasted worm 
taken from a plant, probably the larva of the Galandra pal- 
marum, a native of Persia and Mesopotamia as well as of 
the West Indies, which he says the Indians esteemed very 
delicious — a character that was confirmed by some of the 
Greeks who tasted it.*' 

The trunk of the grass-tree, or black-boy, Xanthorea 
arhorea, when beginning to decay, furnishes large quantities 
of maiTow-like grubs, which are considered a delicacy by 
the aborigines of Western Australia. They have a fragrant, 
aromatic flavor, and form a favorite food among the natives, 
either raw or roasted. They call them Bardi. They are 
also found in the wattle-tree, or mimosa. The presence of 
these grubs in the Xanthoi^ea is thus ascertained : if the top 
of one of these trees is observed to be dead, and it contain 

^Gummila, i. 9. See also Sontlicy's ///W. of Brazil, i. 110. 

2 Hist, of Barbados, p. 04G. 

3 Entrctenimitnto, vi. <^W. 
* Canto iii. 

6 Sketches of Java, 310. 

6 /Elian, ILsi. L. xiv. c. 13. 



any bardi, a few sharp kicks given to it with the foot will 
cause it to crack and shake, when it is pushed over and tlie 
grubs taken out, by breaking the tree to pieces with a ham- 
mer. The bardi of the Xanthorea are small, and found 
together in great numbers; those of the wattle are cream- 
colored, as long and thick as a man's finger, and are found 

Dr. Livingstone states that in the valley of Quango, S. 
Africa, the natives dig large white larvae out of the damp 
soil adjacent to their streams, and use them as a relish to 
their vegetable diet.'^ 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, there was 
published at Florence, by Prof. Gergi, the history of a re- 
markable insect which he names Gurculio anti-odontalgicus. 
This insect, as he assures us, not only in the name he has 
given it, but also in an account of the many cures effected 
by it, is endowed with the singular property of curing the 
toothache. He tells us, that if fourteen or fifteen of the 
larviB be rubbed between the thumb and fore-finger, till the 
fluid is absorbed, and if a carious aching tooth be but 
touched with the thumb or finger thus prepared, the pain 
will be removed ; a finger thus prepared, he says in conclu- 
I sion, will, unless it be used for tooth-touching, retain its 
virtue for a year ! This remarkable insect is only found on 
a nondescript plant, the Carduus i^pmosis-simus.^ 

It is said, also by Prof. Gergi, that the Tuscan peasants 
have long been acquainted with several insects which fur- 
nish a charm for the toothache, as the Gurculio jsecac, 0. 
Bacchus, and Carahus chrysocephaluo. 

The curious facts contained in the following quotation, 
from Chambers' Book of Days, were among the first that 
led me to attempt the present compilation. The scientific 
name of the insect here mentioned is, in the opinion of 
Prof. Gill and other scientists, a misprint for Rhynchitus 
auratus, and, following this decision, I have here placed it 
under the Curculionidde. — "A lawsuit between the inhab- 
itants of the Commune of St. Julien and a coleopterous in- 
sect, now known to naturalists as the Eynchitus aui^eus, 

1 Simmond's Curiosities of Food, p. 313. 

2 Travels and Researches in S. Africa, p. 389. 

3 Monthly Mag. ii (Pt. II.) 702, for 1796. 


lasted for more than forty-two years. At length the inhab- 
itants proposed to compromise the matter by giving, up, in 
perpetuity, to the insects, a fertile part of the district for 
their sole use and benefit. Of course the advocate of the 
animals demurred to the proposition, but the court, over- 
ruling the demurrer, appointed assessors to survey the land, 
and, it proving to be well wooded and watered, and every 
way suitable for the insects, ordered the conveyance to be 
engrossed in due form and executed. The unfortunate 
people then thought they had got rid of a trouble imposed 
upon them by their litigious fathers and grandfathers; but 
they were sadly mistaken. It was discovered that there had 
formerly been a mine or quarry of an ochreous earth, used 
as a pigment, in the land conveyed to the insects, and though 
the quarry had long since been worked out and exhausted, 
some one possessed an ancient right of way to it, which if 
exercised would be greatly to the annoyance of the new pro- 
prietors. Consequently the contract was vitiated, and the 
whole process commenced de novo. How or when it ended, 
the mutilation of the recording documents prevents us 
from knowing; but it is certain that the proceediugs com- 
menced in the year 1445, and that they had not concluded 
in 14vS7. So what with the insects, the lawyers, and the 
church, the poor inhabitants must have been pretty well 
fleeced. During the whole period of a process, religious 
processions and other expensive ceremonies that had to be 
well paid for, were strictly enjoined. Besides, no district 
could commence a process of this kind unless all its arrears 
of tithes were paid up ; and this circumstance gave rise to 
the well-known French legal maxim — 'The first step toward 
getting rid of locusts is the payment of tithes?' an adage 
that in all probability was susceptible of more meanings 
than one."^ 

Cerambycidse — Musk beetles. 

Moufet says: "The Cerambyx, knowing that his legs 
are weak, twists his horns about the brancli of a tree, and 
so he hangs at ease They thrust upon us some 

' Book of Days, i. 


German fables, as many as say it flies only, and when it is 
weary it falls to the earth and presently dies. Those that 
are slaves to tales, render this reason for it : Terarabus, a 
satyrist, did not abstain from quipping of the Muses, where- 
upon they transformed him into a beetle called Cerambyx, 
and that deservedly, to endure a double punishment, for he 
hath legs weak that he goes lame, and like a thief he hangs 
on a tree. Antonius Libealis, lib. i. of his Metamorphosis, 
relates the matter in these words : The Muses in anger 
transformed Terambus because he reproached them, and he 
was made a Cerambyx that feeds on wood," etc.^ 

A large species of longicorn beetles, the Acanthocinus 
sedilis, is the well-known Timerman of Sweden and Lap- 
land; an insect which the natives of these countries regard 
with a kind of superstitious veneration. Its presence is 
thought to be the presage of good fortune, and it is as care- 
fully protected and cherished as storks are by the peasantry 
of the Low Countries.^ 

It has been found that the common cinnamon-colored 
Musk-beetle, Cerambyx moachatus, when dried and re- 
duced to powder, and made use of as a vesicatory, in the 
manner of the officinal Cantharides, produces a similar 
effect, and in as short a space of time.^ 

The Prionus dnmicornis is a native of many parts of 
America and the West Indies, where its larva, a grub about 
three and a half inches in length, and of the thickness of 
the little finger, is in great request as an article of food, 
being considered by epicures as one of the greatest delica- 
cies of the New World. W^e are informed by authors of 
the highest respectability, that some people of fortune in the 
West Indies keep negroes for the sole purpose of going into 
the woods in quest of these admired larvae, who scoop them 
out of the trees in which they reside. Dr. Browne, in his 
History of Jamaica, informs us that they are chiefly found 
in the plum and silk-cotton trees (Bomhax). They are 
commonly called by the name of Macauco, or Macokkos. 
The mode of dressing them is first to open and wash 
them, and then carefully broil them over a charcoal fire.* 

1 Tieatr. Ins., p. 151. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1007. 

2 The Mirror, xxxiii. 202, note. 

3 Drury, Ins., i. 9 (Pref.). Shaw's ZooL, vi. 73. 

4 Sliaw's ZooL, vi. 71-2. Merian, Ins. Sur., 24. 


Sir Hans Sloane tells us the Indians of Jamaica boil them 
in their soup;^, pottages, olios, and pepper-pots, and account 
them of delicious flavor, much like, but preferable to, mar- 
row; and the negroes of this island roast them slightly at 
the fire, and eat them with bread. ^ 

A similar larva is dressed at Mauritius under the name of 
3Ioulac, which the whites as well as the negroes eat greedily.-^ 
According to Linnaeus, the larva of the Frionus cermcor- 
nis is held in equal estimation ; and that of the Acanf/wci- 
nus tribulus when roasted forms an article of food in 

The Cosms of Pliny belonged most probably to this 
tribe, or to the Lucanidae. 

Wanley knew a nun in the monastery of St. Clare, who 
at the sight of a beetle was affected in the following strange 
manner. It happened that some young girls, knowing her 
disposition, threw a beetle into her bosom, which when she 
perceived, she immediately fell into a swoon, deprived of all 
sense, and remained four hours in cold sweats. She did not 
regain her strength for many days after, but continued trem- 
bling and pale.* 

Galerucidae — Turnip-fly, etc. 

The striped Turnip-beetle, Hallica nemorum, com- 
monly called the Turnip-jiy, Turnip-flea, Earthflea- 
beeile, Blackjack, etc., is a well known species from the 
ravages the ])erfect insect commits upon the turnip. In 
Devonshire, England, in the year 1786, the loss caused by 
these insects alone was valued at £100,000 sterling. And 
in the spring of 1837, the vines in the neighborhood of 
Montpellier were attacked to so great an extent by another 
species, Hallica olei^acea, in the perfect state, that fears 
were entertained for the plants, and religious processions 
were instituted for the purpose of exorcising the insects.^ 

1 Hist, of Jamaica, ii. 193-4. 

2 St.. Pierre, Vwy , 72. 

3 Smeatham, 32. Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 303. 
* Wonders, i. 18. 

^Cui'tis, Farm Ins., p. 22. Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 


Anatolius says that if the seeds of radishes, turnips, and 
other esculents be sown in the hide of a tortoise, the plants 
when grown will not be eaten by the fly, nor hurt by nox- 
ious animals or birds. ^ Paladius has also related the method 
of drying the seeds in the hide of this animal,^ and of sowing 

1 Owen's Geoponika, ii. 98. 

2 Probably the coriaceous tortoise, wliich is covered with a sti 

3 Paladius, B. i. c. 35. 



Forficulidae — Ear-wigs. 

The vulgar opiiiion that the Ear-wig, Forficula auricu- 
laria, seeks to introduce itself into the ear of human beings, 
and causes much injury to that organ, is very ancient, but 
not founded on fact, for they are perfectly harmless. To 
this opinion the names of this insect in almost all European 
languages point : as in English, Ear-wig (from Anglo-Saxon 
eare, the ear, and tvigga, a worm ; hence, also, our word 
wiggle), in French, Perce-oreille, and in the German, Ohr- 
wurm. But, according to some writers, these names arose 
from the shape of the wing when expanded, which then re- 
sembles the human ear; and eai^-wig might easily be a cor- 
ruption of ear-wing. 

Swift, in the following lines, introduces an "Ear-wig, 
(probably a Curculio) in a plum," as though in allusion to] 
some superstition : 

Doll never flies to cut Ler lace, 
Or throw cold water in her face, 
Because she heard a sudden drum, 
Or found an ear- wig in a plum. 

" Oil of Ear-wigs," says Dr. James, "is good to strengthen 
the nerves under convulsive motions, by rubbing it on the 
temples, wrists, and nostrils. These insects, being dried, 
pulverized, and mixed with the urine of a hare, are esteemed 
to be good for deafness, being introduced into the ear."^ 

In August, 1755, in the parishes adjacent to Stroud, it is said 
there were such quantities of Ear-wigs, that they destroyed 
not only the fruits and flowers, but the cabbages, though of 
full growth. The houses, especially the old wooden build- 
ings, were swarming with them : the cracks and crevices 

1 Med. Diet. 


surprisinf?ly full, so that they dropped out oftentimes in 
such multitudes as to literally cover the floor. Linen, of 
which they are fond, was likewise full, as was the furniture; 
and it was with caution any provisions could be eaten, for 
the cupboards and safes flocked with these little pests.^ 

1 Gent. Mag., xxv. 376. — Some authors assert that Ear-wigs are 
not in the least injurious to vegetation. 



Blattidae — Cockroaches. 

Sloane tells us the Indians of Jamaica drink the ashes 
of Cockroaches in physic : bruise and mix them with sugar 
and apply them to ulcers and cancers to suppurate ; and 
are said also to give them to kill worms in children.^ Dr. 
James, quoting Dioscorides, Lib. II. cap. 38, remarks: 
"The inside of the Blatta (B.foetida, Monf 138), which 
is found in bake-houses, bruised or boiled in oil, and dropped 
into the ears, eases the pains thereof "^ It is most probable 
the insect now called Blatta is not at all meant by either of 
the above gentlemen. The Blatta of Dioscorides is quite 
likely the Blatta of Pliny, which has been with good reason 
conjectured to be the modern Blaps mortisaga — the com- 
mon Church -yard beetle. 

In England, the hedge-hog, Erinaceus Europaeus, 
from its fondness for insects and its nocturnal habits, is 
often kept domesticated in kitchens to destroy the Cock- 
roaches with which they are infested ; and the housekeepers 
of Jamaica, as we are informed by Sir Hans Sloane, for the 
same reasons and purpose, keep large spiders in their 
houses.^ A species of monkey, Simia jacchus, and a 
species of lemur, L. iardigradus, are also made use of for 
destroying these insects, especially on board ships. '^ Mr. 
Neill, in the Magazine of Natural History, in his account 
of the above-mentioned species of monkey, says : " By chance 
we observed it devouring a large Cockroach, which it had 
caught running along the deck of the vessel; and, from this 
time to nearly the end of the voyage, a space of four or five 

1 Hist, of Jam., ii. 204. 

2 Med. Diet. 

3 Ilist. of Jam , ii. 204. 

* Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Set. 



weeks, it fed almost exclusively on these insects, and con- 
tributed most effectually to rid the vessel of them. It fre- 
quently ate a score of the largest kind, which are from two 
to two and a half inches long, and a very great number of 
the smaller ones, three or four times in the course of the 
day. It was quite amusing to see it at its meal. When 
he had got hold of one of the largest Cockroaches, he held 
it in his fore-paws, and then invariably nipped the head off 
first ; he then pulled out the viscera and cast them aside, 
and devoured the rest of the body, rejecting the dry elytra 
and wings, and also the legs of the insect, which are covered 
with short stiff bristles. The small Cockroaches he ate 
^without such fastidious nicety."^ 

The common Cockroach, or Black-beetle, as it is some- 
times vulgarly called, the Blatta orientalis, is said origi- 
nally to be a native of India, and introduced here, as well 
as in everj other part of the civilized globe, through the 
medium of commerce. In England, another species, said 
to be a native of America, Blatla Americana^ larger than 
the last, is now also becoming very common, especially in 
seaport towns where merchandise is stored.^ 

An old Swede, Luen Laock, one of the first Swedish 
clergymen that came to Pennsylvania, told the traveler 
Kalm, that in his younger days, he had once been very 
much frightened by a Cockroach, which crept into his ear 
while he was asleep. Waking suddenly, he jumped out of 
bed, which caused the insect, most probably out of fear, to 
strive with all its strength to get deeper into his skull, pro- 
ducing such excruciating pain that he imagined his head 
was bursting, and he almost fell senseless to the floor. 
Hastening, however, to the well, he drew a bucket of water, 
and threw some in his ear. The Roach then finding itself 
in danger of being drowned, quickly pushed out backward, 
and as quickly delivered the poor Swede from his pain and 
fears. ^ 

The proverbial expression "Sound as a Roach" is sup- 

1 Quot. by Samouffle, Ent. Cab., 1-8. 

2 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 

3 Pinkei't oil's Voy. and Trav., xiii. 108. A beetle, insinuating 
itself in the ear of Captain Speke when in Central Africa, caused 
him the greatest pain imaginable. It was six or seven months be- 
fore all tlie pieces of it were extracted. — Blackwood' s Mag., Sept. 
1859. Barth's Central Africa, ii. 91, note. 


posed to have been derived from familiarity with the legend 
and attributes of the Saint Roche, — the esteemed saint of 
all afflicted with the plague, a disease of common occurrence 
in England when the streets were narrow, and without 
sewers, houses without boarded floors, and our ancestors 
without hnen. They believed that the miraculous St. 
Roche could make them as "sound" as himself^ 

A quite common superstitious practice, in order to rid a 
house of Cockroaches, is in vogue in our country at the 
present time. It is no other than to address these pests a 
written letter containing the following words, or to this 
effect: "0, Roaches, you have troubled me long enough, 
go now and trouble my neighbors." This letter must b^ 
put where they most swarm, after sealing and going through 
with the other customary forms of letter writing. It is 
well, too, to write legibly and punctuate according to rule. 

Another receipt for driving away Cockroaches is as fol- 
lows : Close in an envelope several of these insects, and 
drop it in the street unseen, and the remaining Roaches will 
all go to the finder of the parcel. 

It is also said that if a looking-glass be held before 
Roaches, they will be so frightened as to leave the prem- 

A firm, which has been established in London for seven 
years, and which manufactures exclusively poison known 
to the trade as the "Phosphor Paste for the Destruction of 
Black-beetles, Cockroaches, rats, mice," etc., has given to 
Mr. Mayhew the following information : 

"We have now sold this vermin poison for seven years, 
but we have never had an application for our composition 
from any street-seller. We have seen, a Year or two since, 
a man about London who used to sell beetle-wafers ; but 
as we knew that kind of article to be entirely useless, we 
were not surprised to find that he did not succeed in making 
a living. We have not heard of him for some time, and 
have no doubt he is dead, or has taken up some other line 
of employment. 

" It is a strange fact, perhaps ; but we do not know any- 
thing, or scarcely anything, as to the kind of people and 
tradesmen who purchase our poison — to speak the truth, we 
do not like to make too many inquiries of our customers. 

1 Hone's Eoery Day Book, i. 1121. 


Sometimes, when they have used more than their custom- 
ary quantity, we have asked, casually, how it was and to 
what kind of business people they disposed of it, and we 
have always met with an evasive sort of answer. You see 
tradesmen don't like to divul^re too much ; for it must be a 
poor kind of profession or calling that there are no secrets 
in ; and, again, they fancy we want to know what descrip- 
tion of trades use the most of our composition, so that we 
might supply them direct from ourselves. From this cause 
we have made a rule not to inquire curiously into the mat- 
ters of our customers. We are quite content to dispose of 
the quantity we do, for we employ six travelers to call on 
chemists and oilmen for tlie town trade, and four for the 

'' The other day an elderly lady from High Street, Cam- 
den Town, called upon us : she stated that she was over- 
run with black beetles, and wished to buy some of our 
paste from ourselves, for she said she always found things 
better if you purchased them of the maker, as you were 
sure to get them stronger, and by that means avoided the 
adulteration of the shopkeepers. But as we have said we 
would not supply a single box to any one, not wishing to 
give our agents any cause for complaint, we were obliged 
to refuse to sell to the old lady. 

" We don't care to say how many boxes we sell in the 
year; but we can tell you, sir, that we sell more for beetle 
poisoning in the summer than in the winter, as a matter of 
course. When we find that a particular district uses almost 
an equal quantity all the year round, we make sure that 
that is a rat district ; for where there is not the heat of 
summer to breed beetles, it must follow that the people 
wish to get rid of rats. 

"Brixton, Hackney, Ball's Pond, and Lower Road, Is- 
lington, are the places that use most of our paste, those 
districts lying low, and being consequently damp. Camden 
Town, though it is in a high situation, is very much infested 
with beetles; it is a clayey soil, you understand, which re- 
tains moisture, and will not allow it to filter through like 
gravel. This is why in some very low districts, where the 
houses are built on gravel, we sell scarcely any of our 

"As the farmers say, a good fruit year is a good fly 


year; so we say,' a good dull, wet summer, is a good beetle 
summer ; and this has been a very fertile year, and we only 
hope it will be as good next year. 

'' We don't believe in rat-destroyers ; they profess to kill 
with weasels and a lot of things, and sometimes even say 
they can charm them away. Captains of vessels, when 
they arrive in the docks, will employ these people ; and, as 
we say, they generally use our composition, but as long as 
their vessels are cleared of the vermin, they don't care to 
know how it is done. A man who drives about in a cart, 
and does a great business in this way, we have reason to 
believe uses a great quantity of our Phosphor Paste. He 
comes from somewhere down the East-end or Whitechapel 

"Our prices are too high for the street-sellers. Your 
street-seller can only afford to sell an article made by a 
person in but a very little better position than himself 
Even our small boxes cost at the trade price two shillings 
a dozen, and when sold will o*ily produce three shillings; 
so you can imagine the profit is not enough for the itinerant 

"Bakers don't use much of our paste, for they seem to 
think it no use to destroy the vermin — beetles and bakers' 
shops generally go together."^ 

If a black beetle enters your room, or flies against you, 
severe illness and perhaps death will soon follow. I have 
never heard this superstition but in Maryland. 

Mantidae — Soothsayers, etc. 

We now come to a very extraordinary family of insects, 
the Mantidae. "Imagination itself," as Dr. Shaw well ob- 
serves, "can hardly conceive shapes more strange than those 
exhibited by some particular species."^ " They are called 
Mantes; that is, fortune-tellers," says Moufifet, "either be- 
cause by their coming (for they first of all appear) they do 

1 London Labor and London Poor, iii. 40-1. 
^ Zool, vi. 118. 


show the spring to be at hand, as Anacreon, the poet, sang ; 
or else they foretell death and famine, as Caelias, the scholiast 
of Theocritus, writes ; or, lastly, because it always holds up 
its fore-feet, like hands, praying, as it were, after the man- 
ner of their divines, who in that gesture did pour out their 
supplications to their gods. So divine a creature is this 
esteemed, that if a childe aske the way to such a place, she 
will stretch out one of her feet and show him the right way, 
and seldome or never misse. As she resembleth those di- 
viners in the elevation of her hands, so also in likeness of 
motion, for they do not sport themselves as others do, nor 
leap, nor play, but walking softly she returns her modesty, 
and showes forth a kind of mature gravity."^ 

The name 3Iantis is of Greek origin, and signifies di- 
viner. In one of, the Idylls of Theocritus, however, it is 
employed to designate a thin, young girl, with slender and 
elongated arms. Praemacram ac pertenuem puellam /ur^rcv. 
Corpore praelongo, pedibus eiiam prselongis, locustee genus. 

These insects. Mantis oratoria, religiosa, etc., in con- 
sequence of their having, as Mouffet says, their fore-feet ex- 
tended as if they were praying, are called in France, Devin, 
and Prega-diou or Preclie-dieu ; and with us, Praying- 
insects, Soothsayers, and Diviners. They are also often 
called from their singular shape Camel-crickets. 

The Mantis was observed by the Greeks in soothsaying ;2 
and the Hindoos displayed the same reverential considera- 
tion of its movements and flight.^ 

But, in modern times, the superstition respecting the 
sanctity of the Mantis begins in Southern Europe, and is 
found in almost every other quarter of the globe, at least 
wherever a characteristic species of the insect is found. 

In the southern provinces of France, where the Mantis 
is very abundant, both the characters of praying and point- 
ing out the lost way, as above mentioned by Mouifet, are 
still ascribed to it by the peasantry, as is evidenced by the 
above mentioned names they know them by. And here, as 
wherever else this superstition obtains, it is considered a 
great crime to injure the Mantis, and as, at least, a very 

1 Theat. Ins., p. 988. 

2 Harwood, Grec. Aniiq., p. 200. 

3 Cbamb. Journ., xi. 362, 2d S. 


culpable neo^lect not to place it out of the way of any dan- 
ger to which it seems exposed. 

The Turks and other Moslems have been much impressed 
by the actions of the common Mantis, the religiosa,^ which 
greatly resemble some of their own attitudes of prayer. 
They readily recognize intelligence and pious intentions in 
its actions, and accordingly treat it with respect and atten- 
tion, not indeed as in itself an object of reverence or super- 
stition, but as a fellow-worshiper of God, whom they be- 
lieve that all creatures praise, with more or less conscious- 
ness and intelligence.'^ 

But it is in Africa, and especially in Southern Africa, 
that the Mantis (here the Mantis caustay receives its high- 
est honors. The attention of the travelers and missiona- 
ries in that quarter was necessarily much drawn to the kind 
of religious veneration paid to an insect, and from their 
accounts, though very contradictory, some carious informa- 
tion may be collected. 

The authority of Peter Kolben, an early German traveler 
to the Cape of Good Hope, is as follows : That the Hot- 
tentots regard as a goad deity an insect of the "beetle-kind " 
peculiar to their country. This "beetle-god" is described 
by him to be "about the size of a child's little finger, the 
back green, the belly speckled white and red, with two 
wings and two horns." He also assures us that whenever 
the Hottentots meet this insect, they pay it the highest 
honor and veneration ; and that if it visits a kraal they 
assemble about it as if a divinity had descended among 
them; and even kill a sheep or two as a thank-ofifering, and 
esteem it an omen of the greatest happiness and prosperity. 
They believe, also, its appearance expiates all their guilt; 
and if the insect lights upon one of them, such person is 
looked upon as a saint, bo it man or woman, and ever after 
treated with uncommon respect. The kraal then kills the 
fattest ox for a thank-offering; and the caul, powdered with ' 
bukhu, and twisted like a rope, is put on, like a collar, about 
the neck, and there must remain till it rots off.* 

1 Carpenter's ZooL, ii. 142. 

2 Ppiw,/ Mag., 1841, 2d S. p. 436. 
8 Cuvier, An. Kvtyd. — Inn., ii. 190. J 
* Present St. of the C. of Good Hope, i. 99-100, Astley's Collec of 

'uy. and Tiav., iii. 3G0. 


Kolben, in another place, describes the Mantis under the 
name of the Gold-beetle, saying that its head and wings are 
of a gold color, the back green, etc., as above.^ 

Mr. Kolben, again speaking of this singular reverence, 
remarks that the Hottentots will run every hazard to secure 
the safety of this fortunate insect, and are cautious to the 
last degree of giving it the slightest annoyance, and relates 
the following anecdote : 

" A German, who had a country-seat about six miles from 
the fort, having given leave to some Hottentots to turn their 
cattle for awhile upon his land there, they removed to the 
place with their kraal. A son of this German, a brisk 
young fellow, was amusing himself in the kraal, when the 
deified insect appeared. The Hottentots, upon sight, ran 
tumultuously to adore it ; while the young fellow tried to 
catch it, in order to see the effect such capture would pro- 
duce among them. But how great was the general cry and 
agony when they saw it in his hands ! They stared with 
distraction in their eyes at him, and at one another. ' See, 
see, see,' said they. 'Ah I what is he going to do? Will 
he kill it ? will he kill it V Every limb of them shaking 
through apprehensions for its fate. * Why,' said the young 
fellow, who very well understood them, 'do you make such 
a hideous noise ? and why such agonies for this paltry ani- 
mal ?' 'Ah! sir,' they replied, with the utmost concern, 
"tis a divinity. 'Tis come from heaven; 'tis come on a 
good design. Ah ! do not hurt it — do not offend it. We 
are the most miserable wretches upon earth if you do. This 
ground will be under a curse, and the crime will never be 
forgiven.' This was not enough for the young German. 
He had a mind to carry the experiment a little farther. He 
seemed not, therefore, to be moved with their petitions and 
remonstrances ; but made as if he intended to maim or de- 
stroy it. On this appearance of cruelty they started, and 
ran to and again like people frantic; asked him, where and 
what his conscience was ? and how he durst think of per- 
petrating a crime, which would bring upon his head all the 
curses and thunders of heaven. But this not prevailing, 
they fell all prostrate on the ground before the young fel- 
low, and with streaming eyes and the loudest cries, besought 

1 Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ill. 381. 


liira to spare the creature and give it its liberty. The young 
German now yielded, and, having let the insect fly, the Hot- 
tentots jumped and capered and shouted in all the trans- 
ports of joy; and, running after the animal, rendered it the 
customary divine honors. But the creature settled upon none 
of them, and there was not one sainted upon this occasion."^ 

Afterward, Mr. Kolben, discoursing with these Hottentots, 
took occasion to ask them concerning the utmost limit they 
carried the belief of the sanctity and avenging spirit of this 
insect, when they declared to him, that if the German had 
killed it, all their cattle would certainly have been destroyed 
by wild beasts, and they themselves, every man, woman, and 
child of them, brought to a miserable end. That they 
believed the kraal to be of evil destiny .where this insect is 
rarely seen. Mr. Kolben asserts that they would sooner 
give up their lives than renounce the slightest item of their 

Dr. Sparrman, a Swedish traveler into the country of the 
Hottentots and Caffres between the years 1772 and 1779, in 
speaking of the Mantis, called in his time the " Hottentot's 
God," denies the above statement of Mr. Kolben, and says 
the Hottentots are so far from worshiping it, that they sev- 
eral times caught some of them, and gave them to him to 
put needles through them, by way of preserving them, in the 
same manner as he did with the other insects. But there is, 
he adds, a diminutive species of this insect, which some thiuk 
would be a crime, as well as very dangerou's, to do any 
harm to, but that it was only a superstitious notion, and 
not any kind of religious worship.^ 

Dr. Thunberg, who traveled in South Africa about the 
same time as Dr. Sparrman, corroborates the latter's state- 
ment, and says he could see no reason for the supposition 
that the Hottentots worshiped the Mantis, but, he adds, it 
certainly was held in some degree of esteem, so that they 
would not willingly hurt, and deemed that person a creature 
fortunate on which it settled, though without paying it any 
sort of adoration.* 

Dr. Yanderkemp, in his account of Cafifraria, after de- 
scribing the Mantis, says that the natives call it oumloani- 
zoulou, the Child of Heaven, and adds that "the Hotten- 

1 Pres. St. of the C. of Good Hope, i. 101-2. 2 jf^id, 

3 Trav., i. 150. * Ibid., ii. Go. 



tots regard it as almost a deity, and offer their prayers to 
it, begfjing that it may not destroy them."^ 

Mr. Kirchener, speaking of the same people, says they 
reverence a little insect, known by the name of the Creeping 
Leaf, a sight of which they conceive indicates something 
fortunate, and to kill it they suppose will bring a curse upon 
the perpetrator.^ 

Mr. Evan Evans, a missionary to the Cape of Good 
Hope, gives an account of a conversation which he had with 
the Hottentot driver of his wagon, which seems to make out 
the claims of the Mantis to be the God of the Hottentots — 
as it is even yet called. The driver directed his attention to 
"a small insect," which he called by its above-mentioned 
familiar name, and alluded to the notions he had in former 
times connected with it. " I asked him, ' Did you ever 
worship this insect then V He answered, 'Oh, yes ! a thou- 
sand times; always before I came to Bethelsdorf. When- 
ever I saw this little creature, I would fall down on my 
knees before him and pray.' 'What did you pray to him 
for?' 'I asked him to give me a good master, and plenty 
of thick milk and flesh.' ' Did you pray for nothing else V 
'No, sir ; I did not then know that I wanted anything else. 
. . . Whenever I used to see this animal (holding the 
insect still in his hand) I used sometimes to fall down im- 
mediately before it ; but if it was in the wagon-road, or in 
a foot-path, I used to push it up as gently as I could, to 
place it behind a bush, for fear a wagon should crush it, or 
some men or beasts would put it to death. H a Hottentot, 
\ by some accident, killed or injured this creature, he was sure 
j to be unlucky all his lifetime, and could never shoot an ele- 
|| phant or a buffalo afterward.'"'^ 

! Niuhoff, in his account of his travels in Java in 1643, 
tells us "the Javanese set two of these little creatures 
1 1 (Mantes) a fighting together, and lay money on both sides, 
I } as we do at a cock-match."* Among the Chinese also this 
quarrelsome property in the genus M'kntis is turned into an 
entertainment. They are so fond of gaming and witnessing 
fights between animals that, as says Mr. Barrow in his 

1 Quot. by Penny Mag., 18il, 2d S. p. 436. 2 Jbid, 3 /^^v/. 
* Churchill's Coll. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 23, and Pinkerton's Voy. 
and Trav., xiv. 720. 


Travels, "they have even extended their inquiries after 
fighting animals into the insect tribe, and have discovered a 
species of Gryllus or Locust that will attack each other with 
such ferocity as seldom to quit their hold without bringing 
away at the same time a limb of their antagonist. These 
little creatures are fed and kept apart in bamboo cages, and 
the custom of making them devour each other is so common 
that, during the summer months, scarcely a boy is to be 
seen without his cage of grasshoppers."^ The boys in 
Washington City, who call the Mantis the "Rear-horse," 
are also fond of this amusement. 

Among the legends of St. Francis Xavier, the following 
is found. Seeing a Mantis moving along in its solemn way, 
holding up its two fore-legs, as in the act of devotion, the 
Saint desired it to sing the praises of God, whereupon the 
insect caroled forth a fine canticle.^ 

The 3Iantis religiosa of America is said to make a most 
interesting pet when tamed, which can be done in a very 
short time and with but little pains. Professor Glover, of 
the Maryland Agricultural College, tells me he once knew a 
lady in Washington v/ho kept a Mantis on her window 
which soon grew so tame as to take readily a fly or other 
small insect out of her hand. But Mrs. Taylor, in her Or- 
thopterian Defense, has given us the particulars in full of a 
Mantis which she had petted. She speaks of it under the 
name of "Queen Bess," and in her most interesting style, as 
follows : 

" Queen Bess, of famous memory, would alight on my 
shoulder and take all her food from me half a dozen times 
a day. When she omitted her visit I knew she had been 
hunting on her own account. All night long she would 
keep watch and guard under the mosquito-net. The silk 
(the thread with which the insect was bound) was fastened 
to the post of the bed ; and woe betide an unfortunate mos- 
quito who fancied for his supper a drop of claret. It was 
the drollest, the most laughter-moving sensation, to feel one 
of these trumpeters saluting your nose or forehead, and 
hear Queen Bess approaching with those long claws, creep- 
ing slowly, softly, nearer and nearer; to feel the fine prick 
of the lancet setting in for a tipple; then you would sup- 

1 Trav. in China, p. 159. Cf. Williams' Middle Kingdom, i. 273. 

2 Ins. Arch., G3. 


pose a dozen fine needles had been suddenly drawn across 
the part; then, predo! Bess's strong, saber-like claws had 
the jolly trumpeter tucked into her capacious jaws before 
you could open your eyes to ascertain the state of affairs. 

" These creatures very seldom fly far," continues Mrs. 
Taylor, "but walk in a most stately and dignified manner. 
Queen Bess could not bear to be overlooked or slighted (!); 
and as sure as she saw me bending over the magnifier with 
an insect, and I thought she was ten yards off, the insect 
would be incontinently snapped out of my fingers. Many 
a valuable specimen disappeared in this way. I learned to 
put her at these times in the sounding-board of an vEolian 
harp, which was generally placed in the window. Her 
majesty liked music of this kind amazingly; as the vibration 
wsisfeU though not heard. I presume she fancied she was 
serenaded by the singing leaves of the forest. I knew she 
would have remained there spell-bound until driven forth by 
hunger, if I did not remove her when I was not afraid of 
her company. 

"As I have begun my 'experiences,'" continues the same 
writer, " I will go through with them and confess that I was 
obliged from circumstances to attach more than accident to 
her prophetic capacity — her fortune-telling. I have not a 
grain of superstition to contend against in other matters, 
having so much reverence for the Creator of all things that 
I certainly have no fear of anything earthly or spiritually 
conveyed to the senses. But I was taught by the saddest 
teacher, Experience, that whenever Queen Bess's refusal went 
unheeded I was the sufferer. The tirst time I ever tried it 
was to determine a vacillating presentiment I felt about 
trying a new horse whose reputation was far from good. I 
placed Queen Bess before me, held up my finger: 

" 'Attention ! Queen Bess, would you advise me to try 
that horse ?' 

" She was standing on her hind legs, her antennas erect, 
wings wide spread. I repeated the question. Antennae 
fell ; wings folded ; and down she went, gradually, until 
her head and long thorax were buried beneath her front legs. 
I took her advice, and did not venture. Two days later the 
horse threw his rider and killed him. 

" Here was the turning-point. Was I to allow such folly 
to master me ? If French girls do take a Mantis at the junc- 
tion of three roads, and ask her on which their lover will 



come, and watch the insect turning and examining each 
road with her weird sibyl head,^ — if French girls commit 
such follies, should I, a staid American woman, follow their 
example — putting my faith in the caprices of an insect ? 
Pshaw ! 1 was above such folly. So the next time Queen 
Bess was consulted a more decided refusal was given ; but 
I disregarded her warning, and most sorely did I repent it. 
Again she would approve, by standing more erect, if pos- 
sible, spreading and closing her wings ; then all was sun- 
shine with me. So it went for many months. Many others 
have had the same experience, if they will confess it 
honestly. I learned to obey the hidden head more care- 
fully than any other, I am sorry to say ; and 1 never, in 
one single instance, knew her to refuse her opinion ; and I 
never knew it to be wrong in whatever way she announced 

This same superstitious woman says that boys and girls 
try their future expectations by making a miaiic chariot, 
ballasting it with small pebbles, shot, or any such like thing, 
and harnessing the Mantis in with silk. Upon being 
freighted she rises immediately, as if to try the weight; if 
too heavy she will not fly. Lighten the chariot, and she 
will soar away to a tree or a field ; then her owner is to be 
a lucky boy. If she will not go at all, or only a short 
distance, and soon come down, misfortune is to be his 

Other superstitions among us, with respect to the Mantis 
are as follows : 

When the Mantis (Rear-horse) kneels, it sees an angel 
in the way, or hears the rustle of its wings. When it 
alights on your hand, you are about to make the acquaint- 
ance of a distinguished person ; if it alights on your head, 
a great honor will shortly be conferred upon you. If it in- 
jures you in any way, which it does but seldom, you will 
lose a valued friend by calunmy. Never kill a Mantis, as 
it bears charms against evil. 

From the great resemblance of many species of Mantis 
to the leaves of the trees upon which they feed, some trav- 
elers, who have observed them, have declared that they saw 
the leaves of trees become living creatures, and take flight. 

1 This superstition I have found in no other place. 

2 Harper's New Monthly Mag., xxiv. 491, 2. 



Madame Merian informs us of a similar opinion among; the 
Indians of Surinam, who believed these insects grew like 
leaves upon the trees, and when they were mature, loosened 
themselves and crawled, or flew away. 

We find also in the works of Piso an account of insects 
becoming plants. Speaking of the Mantis, that author 
says : '* Those little animals change into a green and tender 
plant, which is of two hands breadth. The feet are fixed 
into the ground first; from these, when necessary humidity 
is attracted, roots grow out, and strike into the ground ; 
thus they change by degrees, and in a short time become a 
perfect plant. Sometimes only the lower part takes the 
nature and form of a plant, while the upper part remains as 
before, living and movable ; after some time the animal is 
gradually converted into a plant. In this jSTature seems to 
operate in a circle, by a continual retrograde motion."^ 

There may be, however, much truth in this remarkable 
metamorphosis; for, that an insect may strike root into the 
earth, and, from the co-operation of heat and moisture, con- 
genial to vegetation, produce a plant of the cryptogam ic 
kind, cannot be disputed. Westwood states that he has seen 
a species of Glavaria, both of the undivided &,nd branched 
kinds, which had sprung from insects, and were four times 
larger than the insects themselves. In truth, it cannot 
then be denied that Piso may not have seen a plant of a 
proportionate magnitude which had likewise grown out of 
a Mantis. The pupae of bees, wasps, and cicadas, have 
been known to become the nidus of a plant, to throw up 
stems from the front part of the head, and change in every 
respect into a vegetable, and still retain the shell and ex- 
terior appearance of the parent insect at the root. Speci- 
mens of these vegetated animals are frequently brought 
from the West Indies. Mr. Drury had a beetle in the per- 
fect state, from every part of which small stalks and fibers 
sprouted forth ; they were entirely different from the tufts 
of hair that are observed in a few Coleopterous insects, such 
as the Buprestis fascicular ius of the Cape of Good Hope, 
and were certainly a vegetable production.^ Mr. Atwood, 

1 Donovan seems to think that Ovid's account of the Transforma- 
tion of Phaeton's Sisters into trees, had its origin in some such idea 
as tliis. — Insects of China, p. 18, note. See also Chamb. Journal, xi. 
yCw, 2d Ser. 

'^ Donovan's Ins. of China, p. 19. 


in his account of Dominica, describes a "vegetable fly" as 
follows : " It is of the appearance and size of a small Cock- 
chafer, and buries itself in the ground, where it dies ; and 
from its body springs up a small plant, resembling a young 
cofl'ee-tree, only that its leaves are smaller. Tlie plant is 
often overlooked, from the supposition people have of its 
being no other than a cofi'ee plant, but on examining it 
properly, the difference is easily distinguished. . . . The 
head, body, and feet of the insect appearing at the foot as 
perfect as when alive. "^ 

Dr. Colin, of Philadelphia, has mentioned, also, on the 
authority of a missionary, a "vegetable fly," similar to the 
last mentioned, on the Ohio River.'-' 

The inhabitants of the Sechell Islands raise the Mantis 
sicci/olia, or Dry-leaf Mantis, as an object of commerce 
and natural history. 

Achetidae — Crickets. 

In the Island of Barbados, the natives look upon the 
creaking chirp of a species of Cricket, to which Hughes 
has given the name of the Ash-colored or Sickly Cricket, 
wiien heard in the house, as an omen of death to some one 
of the family. '^ 

In England, also, is the Cricket's chirp sometimes looked 
upon as prognosticating death. "When Blonzelind ex- 
pired," Gay, in his Pastoral Dirge, says, 

And shrilling Crickets in the cLimney cry'd.^ 

So also in Reed's Old Plays is the Cricket's cry ominous 
of death : 

And the strange Cricket i" th' oven sings and hops. 

The same superstition is found in the following line from 
the (Edipus of Dryden and Lee : 

1 Smith's Xature and Art, x. 240. 

2 Avicr. Phil. Trans., vol. iii. Infrod. 
^ Cuvier, An. Kingd.—Ins., ii. 173. 
* Nat. Hist, of Barbados, p. 9U. 
^ 4th Pastoral, line 102. 


Owels, ravens, Crickets, seem the watch of death. 

Gaule mentions, among other vain observations and su- 
perstitious ominations thereupon, "the Cricket's chirping 
behind the chimney stack, or creeping on the foot-pace."^ 

Dr. Nathaniel Home, after saying that " by the flying 
and crying of ravens over their houses, especially in the 
dusk of evening, and when one is sick, they conclude death," 
adds, "the same they conclude of a Cricket crying in a 
house where there was wont to be none."^ 

" Some sort of people," says Mr. Ramsay, in his Elmin- 
thologia, " at every turn, upon every accident, how are they 
therewith terrified ! If but a Cricket unusually appear, or 
they hear but the clicking of a Death-watch, as they call it, 
they, or some one else in the family, shall die !"^ 

Gilbert White, the accurate naturalist of Selborne, speak- 
ing of Crickets, says : " They are the house-wife's barometer, 
foretelling her when it will rain ; and are prognostics some- 
times, she thinks, of ill or good luck, of the death of a near 
relation, or the approach of an absent lover. By being the 
constant companions of her solitary hours, they naturally 
become the objects of her superstition.""' 

The voice of the Cricket, says the Spectator, has struck 
more terror than the roaring of a lion. 

Mrs. Bray also notices that the Cricket's chirp in England, 
which in almost all other countries, and in that too in some 
families, as will be shown hereafter, is considered a cheerful 
and a welcome note, the harbinger of joy, — is deemed by 
the peasantry ominous of sorrow and evil.^ 

"In Dumfries-shire," says Sir William Jardine, "it is a 
common superstition that if Crickets forsake a house which 
they have long inhabited, some evil will befall the family ; 
generally the death of some member is portended. In like 
manner the presence or return of this cheerful little insect 
is lucky, and portends some good to the family."^ 

Melton also says, — "17. That it is a sign of death to 

1 Mag-astroviancers Posed and PuzzeVd, p. 181. 

2 Dsemonologia, 1650, p. 59. 

3 Elminth., 8vo. Lond., 16G8, p. 271. 
* Nat. Hist, of Selborne, p. 255. 

5 Tamar and Tavy, i. 321. 

6 The Mirror, xix. 180. 



some in that house where Crickets have been many years, if 
on a sudden they forsake the chimney."^ 

The departure of Crickets from a hearth where they have 
been heard, is, at the present time, in England, considered 
an omen of misfortune.- 

From the above statements of Mr. White, Mrs. Bray, and 
Sir William Jardine, we learn that in England the Cricket's 
chirp is not always ominous of evil, but sometimes also of 
good luck, of joy, and of the approach of an absent lover. 

A correspondent of the "Xotes and Queries" mentions 
the Cricket's cry as foreboding good luck.^ So also a writer 
for "The Mirror," remarking, it is singular that the House- 
cricket should by some persons be considered an unlucky, by 
others a lucky, inmate of the mansion. Those who hold the 
latter opinion, he adds, consider the destruction of these in- 
sects the means of bringing misfortunes on their habitations.* 
Grose thus expresses this last superstition : Persons killing 
these insects (including the Lady-bird, before mentioned) 
will infallibly, within the course of the year, break a bone, 
or meet with some other dreadful misfortune.^ 

That the belief that the appearance of Crickets in a house 
is a good omen, and prognosticates cheerfulness and plenty, 
is pretty generally entertained in England, may be inferred 
also from the manner in which it has been embodied by 
Cowper, in his address to a Cricket 

Chirping on his kitchen hearth. 
His words are : 

Whereso'er be tliine abode, 
Always harbinger of good. 

And again in that admirable little tale of Charles 
Dickens, entitled "The Cricket on the Hearth," this good 
and happy superstition is embodied. "It's sure to bring us 
good fortune, John I It always has been so. To have a 
Cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing in the world," 
says its heroine. 

^ Astrologaster, p. 45. 

'^ Notes and Queries, iii. 3. 

3 Ibid. 

* The Mirror, xix. 180. 

^ Grose, Antiq. Prov. Glosts.. p. 121. 


All these superstitions are more or less entertained in 
America, brought here by the English themselves, and re- 
tained by their descendants. That the Cricket is the "har- 
binger of good," it gives me pleasure to say, is the most 

Another superstition obtaining in this country, and par- 
ticularly in Maryland and Virginia, is that Crickets are 
old folks and ought not therefore to be destroyed. This 
probably arose from Crickets being found about the kitchen 
hearth where the old folks were accustomed to sit. 

Milton chose for his contemplative pleasures a spot where 
Crickets resorted: 

Where glowing embers through the room 
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom, 
Far from all resort of mirth, 
Save the Cricket on the hearth. i 

The learned Scaliger is said to have been particularly de- 
lighted with the chirping of these animals, and was accus- 
tomed to keep them in a box for his amusement in his 

Mrs. Taylor, the writer of a very interesting series of 
papers on insects for Harper's Magazine, relates that in her 
travels through Wales, she obtained several House-crickets 
in the old Castle of Caernarvon. These she carried with 
her, in her journeyings to and fro over the Kingdom, for 
several years, and at last brought them to this country, 
where they were liberated in the snuggest corner of a South- 
ern hearth. Again a wanderer for many years, she went back 
to the old house to see how her chirping friends were coming' 
on, but, alas ! she was told by the then residents, with the 
utmost calmness, "they had had great difficulty in scalding 
them out, and they hoped there was not one left on the 
premises !"^ 

In certain countries of Africa, Crickets are reported to 
constitute an article of commerce. Some persons rear them, 
feed them in a kind of iron oven, and sell them to the natives, 
who are very fond of their music, thinking it induces sleep.* 

1 II Pen serosa. 

2 Mouffet, Theat. Insect., p. 136. 
^ Harper's Mac/ , xxvi. 497. 

* iMouff. T/ieat. Ins.. p. 186. 


De Pauw finds some traces of the Egyptian worship of the 
Scarabajus in this fondness for the music of the "holy 
Crickets," as he calls them, of Madagascar ! By the rearing 
of which insects, he tells us, the Africans make a living, and 
the rich would think themselves at enmity with heaven, if 
they did not preserve whole swarms in ovens constructed 
expressly for that purpose.^ 

The youth of Germany, Jaeger says, are extremely fond 
of Field-crickets, so much so, that there is scarcely a boy to 
be seen who has not several small boxes made expressly for 
keeping these insects in. So much delighted are they, too, 
with their music, that they carry these boxes of Crickets 
into their bed-rooms at night, and are soothed to sleep wita 
their chirping lullaby,^ 

On the contrary, others, as has been before mentioned, 
think there is something ominous and melancholy in the 
Cricket's cry, and use every endeavor to banish this insect 
from their houses. "Lidelius tells us," says Goldsmith, ''of 
a woman who was very much incommoded by Crickets, and 
tried, but in vain, every method of banishing them from her 
house. She at last accidentally succeeded; for having one 
day invited several guests to her house, where there was a 
wedding, in order to increase the festivity of the entertain- 
ment, she procured drums and trumpets to entertain them. 
The noise of these was so much greater than what the little 
animals were accustomed to, that they instantly forsook 
their situation, and were never heard in that mansion 
more.'" Like many other noisy persons, Crickets like to 
hear nobody louder than themselves. 

In the Island of Sumatra, Capt. Stuart tells me, a black 
Cricket is looked upon with great respect, amounting almost 
to adoration. It is deemed a grievous sin to kill it. 

Baskets full of Field-crickets, Lopes de Gomara says, 
were found among the provisions of the Indians of Jamaica 
when they were first discovered.* 

"The Criquet called Gryllus," says Pliny in tlie words of 
Holland, "doth mitigat catarrhs and all asperities offending 
the throat, if the same bee rubbed therewith : also if a man 

1 De Pauw, ii. 106. 

2 Life of Amer. Ins., p 114. 

3 Earth and Aniiii'it. Nat., iv. 216. 

4 Sloane's Nal. ILst. of Jamaica, ii. 201. 


doe but touch the amygdals or almonds of the throat, with 
the hand wherewith he hath bruised or crushed the said 
Criquet, it will appease the inflaraation thereof.'" Again, 
"The Cricket digged up and applied to the plase, earth and 
all where it lay, is very good for the ears. Nigridius," con- 
tinues Pliny, "attributeth many properties to this poore 
creature, and esteeraeth it not a little : but the Magicians 
much more by a faire deale : and why so ? Forsooth be- 
cause it goeth, as it were, reculing backward, it pierceth 
and boreth a hole into the ground, and never ceaseth all 
night long to creake very shrill. 

''The manner of hunting and catching them is this. They 
take a flie and tie it above the middest at the end of a long 
haire of one's head, and so put the said flie into the mouth 
[ of the Cricquet's hole ; but first they blow the dust away with 
their mouth, for fear lest the flie should hide herself therein ; 
the Cricket spies the sillie flie, seaseth upon her presently and 
claspeth her round, and so they are both drawne foorth to- 
gether by the said haire. "^ 

At the present time, children in France practice the same 
method of capturing Crickets for amusement ; substituting, 
however, an ant for the^" sillie flie," and a long straw for 
"the haire of one's head." Hence comes the common 
proverb in France, il est sot cpmme un grillon. A ruse 
for capturing the larva of the Cicindela, now commonly 
practiced by entomologists, is founded on the same prin- 

Pliny further says: "The Cricquets above rehearsed, 
either reduced into a liniment, or else bound too, whole as 
they be, cureth the accident of the lap of the eare, wounds, 
contusions, bruises," etc.^ 

Dr. James, quoting Schroder and Dale, says : " The 
ashes of the Cricket {Gryllus domesticus) exhibited, are 
said to be diuretic; the expressed juice, dropped into the 
eyes, is a remedy for weakness of the sight, and alleviates 
disorders of the tonsils, if rubbed on them."-^ 

The English name Cricket, the French Cri-cri, the 
Dutch Krekel, and the Welsh Cricell and Gricella, are 
evidently derived from the creak-'mg sounds of these insects. 

1 Nat. IIisL, XXX. 4. Holland, p. 378. H. 

2 Ibid., xxix. 6. Holland, p. 370. K. 

3 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxix. G. IIolL, p. 371. A. 
* Med. Diet. 


Gryllidse — Grasshoppers. 

Mr. Hughes, after describing an ash-colored Grasshop- 
per (which may be his ash-colored cricket before men- 
tioned),' remarks that the superstitious of the inhabitants 
of Barbados are very apprehensive of some approaching 
illness to the family, whenever this insect flies into their 
houses in the evening or in the night."^ 

Athenteus tells us the ancient Greeks used to eat the 
common Grasshopper and the Monkey-grasshopper as pro- 
vocatives of the appetite. Aristophanes says : 

How can you, in God's name, like Grasshoppers, 
Catching them with a reed, and Cercopes?^ 

Turpin tells us there is a kind of brown Grasshopper in 
Siara, which the natives consider a delicate food.* 

" Fernandus Oniedus declareth furthermore," says Peter 
Martyr in his History of the West Indies, "that in a cer- 
tain region called Zenu, lying fourescore and tenne miles 
from Darrina Eastwarde, they exercise a strange kinde of 
marchaundize : For in the houses of the inhabitantes they 
found great chests and baskets, made of twigges and leaves 
of certaine trees apt for that purpose, being all ful of 
Grasshoppers, Grilles, Crabbes, Crefishes, Snails also, and 
Locustes, which destroie the fields of corue, all well dried 
and salted. Being demanded why they reserved such a 
multitude of these beastes : they answered, that they kept 
them to be sowlde (sold) to the borderors, which dwell fur- 
ther within the lande, and that for the exchange of these 
pretious birdes, and salted fishes, they received of them 
certayne straunge thinges, wherein partly they take pleasure, 
and partly use them for the necessarie affaires."^ 

In the account of the voyages of J. Huighen Linschoten, 
it is stated that the inhabitants of Cumana eat " horse- 

1 The Grasshopper, however, according to Mr. Hughes' descrip- 
tion, is twice as large as the cricket; it being two inches, the cricket 
but one inch, in length. — P. 85 and 90. 

2 Xal. Hist, of Bivrb., p. 85. 

3 Atlien. Deipnos, L. 4, c. 12. The Cercope, or Monkey-grasshop- 
per, was so called from having a long tail like a monkey, cercops. 

* Pinkert. Col of Voy. and Trav., ix. 612. 
5 Ilist. of West Indies, p. 121-2. 



leeches, bats, Grasshopers, spiders, bees, and raw, sodden, 
and roasted lice. They spare no living creature whatso- 
ever, but they eat it."^ 

"Among the choice delicacies with which the California 
Digger Indians regale themselves during the summer sea- 
son," says the Empire County Argus, "is the Grasshopper 
roast. Having been an eye-witness to the preparation and 
discussion of one of their feasts of Grasshoppers, we can 
describe it truthfully. There are districts in California, as 
well as portions of the plains between Sierra Nevada and 
the Rocky Mountains, that literally swarm with Grasshop- 
pers, and in such astonishing numbers that a man cannot 
put his foot to the ground, while walking there, without 
crushing great numbers. To the Indian they are a deli- 
cacy, and are caught and cooked in the following manner : 
A piece of ground is sought where they most abound, in 
the center of which an excavation is made, large and deep 
enough to prevent the insect from hopping out whejQ once 
in. The entire party of Diggers, old and young, male and 
female, then surround as much of the adjoining grounds as 
they can, and each with a green bough in hand, whipping 
and thrashing on every side, gradually approach the center, 
driving the insects before them in countless multitudes, till 
at last all, or nearly all, are secured in the pit. In the 
mean time smaller excavations are made, answering the pur- 
pose of ovens, in which fires are kindled and kept up till the 
surrounding earth, for a short distance, becomes sufficiently 
heated, together with a flat stone, large enough to cover the 
oven. The Grasshoppers are now taken in coarse bags, and, 
after being thoroughly soaked in salt water for a few mo- 
ments, are emptied into the oven and closed in. Ten or 
fifteen minutes suffice to roast them, when they are taken 
out and eaten without further preparation, and with much 
apparent relish, or, as is sometimes the case, reduced to pow- 
der and made into soup. And having from curiosity tasted, 
not of the soup, but of the roast, really, if one could divest 
himself of the idea of eating an insect as we do an oyster or 
shrimp, without other preparation than simple roasting, they 
would not be considered very bad eating, even by more re- 
fined epicures than the Digger Indians."-^ 

1 Voy., ii. 239. Wanley's Wonders, ii. 878. 

2 Quoted in Simmond's Curios, of Food, p. 304. 


An item dated Tuesday, Aug. 21st, 1742, in the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, states: "Great damage has been done to 
the pastures in the country, particularly about Bristol, by 
swarms of Grasshoppers ; the like has happened in Penn- 
sylvania to a surprising degree."^ 

A common species in Sweden, the Decticus verrucivorus, 
is employed by the native peasants to bite the warts on their 
hands ; the black fluid which it emits from its mouth being 
supposed to possess the power of making these excrescences 
vanish.^ This black fluid, from whatever Grasshoppers it 
may be emitted, is called by our boys " tobacco spit," which 
it much resembles ; and they attribute to it also a wart- 
curing quality. When they catch one, they hold it between 
the thumb and fore-finger, and cry out, — 

Spit, spit tobacco spit, 
And then I'll let you go. 

The exuviae of a Grasshopper called Semmi or Sebi, 
Kemplfer tells us, are preserved for medicinal uses, and sold 
publicly in shops both in Japan and China.^ 

Dr. James, quoting Dioscorides, says : " Grasshoppers 
(Locusia Anglica minor, vulgatiasima, Raii Ins. 60.) in a 
suftumigation relieve under a dysury, especially such as is 
incident to the female sex. The Locusta Africanus is a very 
good antidote against the poison of the Scorpion."^ 

After describing the Grasshopper of Italy, Brookes says : 
"It is often an amusement among the children of that coun- 
try to catch this animal; and, by tickling the belly with 
their finger, it will whistle as long as they chuse to make it."^ 

In France, Grasshoppers are called Sauterelles, Hoppers ; 
and in Germany, Heupferde, Hay-horses, because they gen- 
erally feed on grasses, and their head has something of the 
form of a horse's head. 

If Grasshoppers appear early in the summer in great 
numbers, they foretell famine and drouth, — a superstition 
obtaining in Maryland. 

1 Gent. Mag., xii. 442. 

2 Good, Study of 3Ied., iv. 515. 

3 Pinkerton's Vo7/. and Trav., vii. 705. 

4 Med. Diet. 

5 Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 67. 


Locustidse— Locusts. 

Moufet says : " That Locusts should be generated of tlie 
carkasse of a mule or asse (as Plutarch reports in the life of 
Cleonides) by putrefaction, I cannot with philosophers de- 
termine ; first, because it was permitted to the Jewes to feed 
on them ; secondly, because no man ever yet was an eye- 
witness of such a putrid and ignoble generation of Lo- 

The first record of the ravages of the Locusts, which we 
find in history, is the account in the Book of Exodus of the 
visitation to the land of Egypt. "And the Locusts went 
up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of 

Egypt — very grievous were they For they covered 

the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened ; 
and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of 
the trees which the hail had left; and there remained not 
any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, 
through all the land of Egypt. "^ 

It is to the Bible, too, we go to find the best account, for 
correctness and sublimity, of the appearance and ravages of 
these terrific insects. It is thus given by the prophet Joel : 
"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and 
of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mount- 
ains: a great people and a strong ; there hath not been ever 
the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years 
of many generations. A fire devoureth before them ; and 
behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of 
Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; 
yea, and nothing shall escape them. Like the noise of 
chariots^ on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the 
noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a 
strong people set in battle array. Before their faces the 
people shall be much pained : all faces shall gather blackness. 
They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall 
like men of war, and they shall march every one on his ways. 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 120. Topsel's RisL of Beasts, p. 984. 

^ Exod , chap. x. 

3 Of the symbolical Locusts in the Apocalypse it is said — "And the 
sounds of their wings was as the sound of chariots, of many horses 
running to battle." — ix. 9. 



and they shall not break their ranks; neither shall one 
thrust another, they shall walk every one in his path ; and 
whes they fall upon the sword they shall not be wounded. 
They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon 
the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses ; they shall 
enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake 
before them, the heavens shall tremble ; the sun' and the 
moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shin- 
ing." The usual way in which they are destroyed is also 
noticed by the prophet. **I will remove far off from 
you the northern army, and will drive him into aland barren 
and desolate, with his face towards the east sea, and his 
hinder part towards the utmost sea, and his stink shall 
come up, because he hath done great things."^ 

Paulus Orosius tells us that in the year of the world 3800, 
during the consulship of M. Plautius Hypsseus, and M. Ful- 
vius Flaccus, such infinite myriads of Locusts were blown 
from the coast of Africa into the sea and drowned, that 
being cast upon the shore in immense heaps they emitted a 
stench greater than could have been produced by the car- 
casses of one hundred thousand men. A general pestilence 
of all living creatures followed. And so great was this 
plague in Numidia, where Micipsa was king, that eighty 
thousand persons died ; and on the sea-coast, near Carthage 
and Utica, about two hundred thousand were reported to 
have perished. Thirty thousand soldiers, appointed as the 
garrison of Africa, and stationed in Utica, were among the 
number. So violent was the destruction that the bodies of 
more than fifteen hundred of these soldiers, from one gate 
of the city, were carried and buried in the same day.'^ 

St. Augustine also mentions a plague to have arisen in 
Africa from the same cause, which destroyed no less than 
eight hundred thousand persons (octigenta hominum millia) 
in the kingdom of Masanissa alone, and many more in the 
territories bordering upon the sea.* 

Blown from that quarter of the globe, Locusts have oc- 
casionally visited both Italy and Spain. The former coun- 
try was severely ravaged by myriads of these desolating in- 

1 Cf. Ex. X. 15; Jer. xlvi. 23; Judg. vi. 5, viii. 12; Nah. iii. 1-3. 

2 .Toel, ii. 2-10, 20. 

3 Oros, Contra Pag., 1. 5, c. 2. 

* Kirb. and Sp. Iiilrod., i. 217; Cuv. An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 206. 


traders, in the year 591. These were of a larger size than 
common, as we are informed by Mouifet, who quotes an 
ancient historian ; and from their stench, when cast into the 
sea, arose a pestilence which carried off near a million of 
men and cattle.^ 

In A.D. 6^7, Syria and Mesopotamia were overrun by 

"About the year of our Lord 8T2," we read in Wanley's 
Wonders, "came into France such an innumerable company 
of Locusts, that the number of them darkened the very 
light of the sun ; they were of extraordinary bigness, had a 
sixfold order of wings, six feet, and two teeth, the hardness 
whereof surpassed that of stone. These eat up every green 
thing in all the fields of France. At last, by the force of 
the winds, they were carried into the sea (the Baltic) and 
there drowned ; after which, by the agitation of the waves, 
the dead bodies of them were cast upon the shores, and from 
the stench of them (together with the famine they had made 
with their former devouring) there arose so great a plague, 
t]i:it it is verily thought every third person in France died of 
it."^ These Locusts devoured in France, on an average every 
day, one hundred and forty acres ; and their daily marches, or 
distances of flight, were computed at twenty miles.* 

In 12tl, all the cornfields of Milan were destroyed; and 
in the year 1339, all those of Lombardy.^ We read in 
Bateman's Doorae, that in 1476, ''grasshoppers and the 
great rising of the river Isula did spoyle al Poland." A 
famine took place in the Venetian territory in 1478, occa- 
sioned by these terrific scourges, in which thirty thousand 
persons are reported to have perished. Mouflfet mentions 
many other instances of their devastations in Europe, — in 
France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.*^ 

A passage of Locusts in France, in 1613, entirely cut up, 
even to the very roots, more than fifteen thousand acres of 
corn in the neighborhood of Aries, and had even penetrated 
into the barns and granaries, when, as it were by Provi- 
dence, many hundreds of birds, especially starlings, came to 

1 Mouff., Theat. Ins., p. 123. 

2 Shaw, Zool, vi. 137. 

3 Wonders, ii. 507. 

t Shaw, ZooL, vi. 137. 5 rbi^i 

6 Thtatr. Insect., p. 123. 


diminish their numbers. Notwithstanding this, nothing 
could be more astonishing than their multiplication, for the 
fecundity of the Locust is very remarkable. Upon an order 
issued by government, for the collection of their eggs, more 
than three thousand measures were collected, from each of 
which, it was calculated, would liave issued nearly two mil- 
lions of young ones.^ In 1650, they entered Russia, in im- 
mense divisions, in three different places ; thence passed over 
into Poland and Lithuania, where the air was darkened by 
their numbers. In many parts they lay dead to the depth 
of four feet. Sometimes they covered the surface of the 
earth like a dark cloud, loaded the trees, and the destruc- 
tion which they produced exceeded all calculation. ^ In 
1645, immense swarms visited the islands of Formosa and 
Tayowan, and caused such a famine that eight thousand 
persons died of hunger.^ 

" In 1649," says Sir Hans Sloane, "the Locusts destroyed 
all the products of the island of Teneriffe. They came from 
the coast of Barbary, the wind being a Levant thence. 
They flew as far as they could, then one alighted in the sea, 
and another on it, so that one after another they made a 
heap as big as the greatest ship above water, and were es- 
teemed almost as many under. Those above water, next 
day, after the sun's refreshing them, took flight again, and 
came in clouds to the island, whence the inhabitants had 
perceived them in the air, and had gathered all the soldiers 
of the island and of Laguna together, being t or 8000 men, 
who laying aside their arms, some took bags, some spades, 
and having notice by their scouts from the hills when they 
alighted, they went straight thither, made trenches, and 
brought their bags full, and covered them with mould. . . . 
After two months fruitless management of them in this 
manner, the ecclesiastics took them in hand by penances, etc. 
But all would not do : the Locusts staid their four months ; 
cattle eat them and died, and so did several men, and others 
stuck out in botches. The other Canary islands were so 
troubled, also, that they were forced to bury their provi- 
sions. They were troubled forty years before with the like 

^ Cuvier, An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 212. 

2 Bingley, Anim. Biog., iii. 258. 

^ Hist, of Ins. (Murray, 4888), ii. 188. 

^ Nat. Hist, of Jam.., quot. in Gent. Mag., xviii. 3G2. 


Barbot, after mentioning a famine that happened in jSTorth 
Guinea in 1681, which destroyed many thousands of the in- 
habitants of the Continent, and forced many to sell them- 
selves for slaves, to only get sustenance, says these fearful 
famines are also some years occasioned by the dreadful 
swarms of Locusts, which come from the eastward and spread 
over the whole country in such prodigious multitudes, that 
they darken the very air, passing over head like mighty 
clouds. They leave nothing that is green wheresoever they 
come, either on the ground or trees, and fly so swiftly from 
place to place, that whole provinces are devastated in a very 
short time. Barbot adds, terrific storms of hail, wind, and 
such like judgments from Heaven, are nothing to compare 
to this, which when it happens, there is no question to be 
made but that multitudes of the natives must starve, 
having no neighboring countries to supply them with corn, 
because those round about them are no better husbands 
than themselves, and are no less liable to the same calami- 

Of a swarm, which in the year 1693 covered four square 
miles of ground, a German author has made the following 
estimate. Observing that, when he trod on the ground, at 
least three were crushed, and that in a square German meas- 
ure, less than an English foot, ten were destroyed ; and after 
determining the number of these square measures in the 
four miles, he concluded that ninety-two billions, one hun- 
dred and sixty millions of Locusts were congregated on the 
surface. This is altogether a very moderate calculation, for 
not only is their number more compact in breadth, but they 
are often piled knee-high on the earth. ^ 

In 1724, Dr. Shaw was a witness of the devastations of 
these insects in Barbary. lie has given us a description of 
their habits.^ For four successive years, from 1744 to 1747, 
Locusts ravaged the southern provinces of Spain and Por- 
tugal.* In a letter from Transylvania, dated August 22d, 
1747, a graphic description is given of two vast columns 
that overswept that country. "They form," says the writer, 
" a close compact column about fifteen yards deep, in breadth 
about four musket-shot, and in length about four leagues ; 

1 Churchill's Col. of Vo7/. and Trav., v. 33. 

2 Ins. (Murray, 1838), ii. 188. 3 j^,/^.^ n 197^ 
* Gent. Mag., Ixx. 989. 



they move with such force, or rather precipitation, that the 
air trembles to such a degree as to shake the leaves upon 
the trees, and they darkened the sky in such a manner, that 
when they passed over us I could not see my people at 
twenty feet distance."^ This flight was four hours in pass- 
ing over the Red Tower. The guards here attempted to 
stop them, by firing cannon at them ; and where, indeed, 
the balls and shot swept through the swarm, they gave way 
and divided ; but, having filled up their ranks in a moment, 
they proceeded on their journey.'^ In an item dated Her- 
manstadt, July 24, 1148, it is stated that on the day before, 
a hussar, coming from the plague committee, saw such a 
host of these insects near Szanda, that they covered the 
country for a mile round, and were so thick, that he was 
obliged to dismount from his horse, and halt for three hours, 
until the inhabitants of the district, coming with all sorts of 
instruments, beat about and forced with loud cries these 
pests to quit the spot.'^ In another item, dated Warsaw, 
August 15, 1748, it is stated that a certain prince sent out 
soldiers against the Locusts, who fired upon them not only 
with small arms, but with cannons. Thej succeeded in di- 
viding the Locusts, but unluckily with the noise frightened 
away the storks and cranes which daily consume many of 
these insects.* Some stragglers from these swarms which 
so desolated Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Hungary, 
and Poland, in the years 1747 and '48, made their way into 
England, where they caused some alarm. ^ During this grand 
invasion of Europe, they even crossed the Baltic, and visited 
Sweden in 1749. Charles the Twelfth, in Bessarabia, im- 
agined himself, it is said, assailed by a hurricane, mingled 
with tremendous hail, when a cloud of these insects suddenly 
falling, and covering both men and horses, arrested his entire 
army in its march. *^ 

During the devastations committed by the Locusts in 
Spain in 1754, '55, '56, and '57, a body of them entered the 

1 Phil. Trans., vol. xlvi., and Gent. Mag., xvii. 435. 2 /^/^/^ 

3 Ins. (Murray, 1838), ii. 190. 

^ Ibid., 191. Dr. Shaw says, Governors of particular provinces 
of the East oftentimes command a certain number of the military 
to take the field against armies of Locusts, with a train of artil- 
lery. — Zool., vi. 131, note. 

^ Phil. Trans., vol. xlvi. 

6 Cuv. An. King. — Ins., ii. 211. 



church of Alraaden, and devoured the silk garments that 
adorned the images of the saints, not sparing even the 
varnish on the altars.^ 

In 1750 and '53 Poland was again devastated by Locusts.^ 

i In June, 1772, there were several swarms of "large black 

flies of the Locust kind," that did incredible damage to the 

fruits of the earth, seen in England. Salt water, it is said, 

was found effectual in destroying them.^ 

From 1778 to 1780 the empire of Morocco was terribly 
devastated by Locusts : every green thing was eaten up, not 
even the bitter bark of the orange and pomegranate escap- 
ing — a most dreadful famine ensued. The poor wandered 
over the country, in search of a wretched subsistence from the 
roots of plants. They picked, from the dung of camels, the 
undigested grains of barley, and devoured them with eager- 
ness. Vast numbers perished, and the streets and roads 
were strewed with the unburied carcasses. On this sad oc- 
casion, fathers sold their children, and husbands their wives. 
When they visit a country, says Mr. Jackson, from whom 
we have gathered the above facts, speaking of the same 
empire, it behooves every one to lay in provision for a 
famine, for they stay from three to seven years. When they 
have devoured all other vegetables, they attack the trees, 
consuming first the leaves and then the bark.* 

To prevent the fatal consequences which would have re- 
sulted from a passage of Locusts in 1780 near Bontzhida, in 
Transylvania, fifteen hundred persons were ordered each to 
gather a sack full of the insects, part of which were crushed, 
part burned, and part interred. Notwithstanding this, very 
little diminution was remarked in their numbers, so aston- 
ishing was their multiplication, until very cold and sharp 
weather had come on. In the following spring there were 
millions of eggs disinterred and destroyed by the people, 
who were levied "en masse" for the operation; but not- 
withstanding all this, many places of tolerable extent were 
still to be found, in which the soil was covered with young 
Locusts, so that not a single spot was left naked. These 

1 Dillon's Trav. in Spain, quot. in Ins. (Murray, 1838), ii. 205. 

2 Gent. Mag., xx. 382; xxiii. 387. 

3 Ibid., xlii. 293. 

* .Jackson's Trav. in Morocco, p. 105. Cf. Lempriere, Pinkerton's 
Col. of Voy. and Trav., xv. 709. 


were finally, however, swept into ditches, the opposite sides 
of which were provided with cloths tightly stretched, and 
crushed. "^ 

When the provincial governors of Spain are informed in 
the spring that Locusts have been seen, they collect the 
soldiers and peasants, divide them into companies and sur- 
round the district. Every man is furnished with a long 
broom, with which he strikes the ground, and thus drives 
the young Locusts toward a common center, where a vast 
excavation, with a quantity of brushwood, is prepared for 
their reception, and where the flame destroys them. Three 
thousand men were thus employed, in 1780, for three weeks, 
at Zamora; and it was reckoned that the quantity collected 
exceeded 10,000 bushels."^ In 1783, 400 bushels more were 
collected and destroyed in the same way.^ 

Mr. Barrow informs us that in South Africa, in 1784 and 
1797, two thousand square miles were literally covered by 
Locusts, which, being carried into the sea by a northwest 
wind, formed, for fifty miles along shore, a bank three or 
four feet high ; and when the wind was in the opposite point, 
the horrible odor which they exhaled was perceptible a 
hundred and fifty miles oflf.* 

The immense column of Locusts which ravaged all the 
Mahratta territory, and was thought to have come from 
Arabia, extended, Mr. Kirby's friend told him, five hundred 
miles, and was so dense as thoroughly to hide the sun, and 
prevent any object from casting a shadow. This horde was 
not composed of the migratory Locust, but of a red species, 
which imparted a sanguine color to the trees on which they 

Mr. Forbes describes a flight of Locusts which he saw 
soon after his arrival at Baroche in 1779. It was more than 
a mile in length, and half as much in breadth, and appeared, 
as the sun was in the meridian, like a black cloud at a dis- 
tance. As it approached, its density obscured the solar 
rays, causing a gloom like that of an eclipse, over the gar- 

1 Cuv. An. King. — Ins., ii. 212. 

2 Gent. Maff., Ixii. 543. 

3 Jf,id., liii. 526, Pt. I. 
^ Trnv., etc., 257. 

5 K. and S. Introd., i. 219. 


dens, and causing a noise like the rushing of a torrent. 
They were almost an hour in passing a given point.^ 

In another place, this traveler states that, in one con- 
siderable tract near the confines of the Brodera district, he 
witnessed a mournful scene, occasioned by a scourge of Lo- 
custs. They had, some time before he came, alighted in 
that part of the country, and left behind them, he says, 
'*an awful contrast to the general beauty of that earthly 
paradise." The sad description of Hosea, he adds, was 
literally realized : " That which the palmer-worm hath left, 
hath the caterpillar eaten. They have laid waste the vine, 
and barked the fig-tree ; they have made it clean bare, and 
the branches thereof are made white : the pomegranate- 
tree, the palm-tree also, and the apple-tree, even all the 
trees of the field are withered. Howl, ye husbandmen ! 
for the wheat and for the barley ; because the harvest of the 
field is perished. How do the beasts groan I The herds 
of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture ; yea, 
the flocks of sheep are made desolate !"^ 

On the 16th of May, 1800, Buchanan met with in Mysore 
a flight of Locusts which extended in length about three 
miles. He compares the noise they made to the sound of 
a cataract.^ This swarm was very destructive to the young 
crops of jola.* 

In 1811, at Smyrna, at right angles to a flight of Locusts, 
a man rode forty miles before he got rid of the moving 
column. This immense flight continued for three days and 
nights, apparently without intermission. It was computed 
that the lowest number of Locusts in this swarm must have 
exceeded 168,608,563,200,200! Captain Beaufort determ- 
ined that the Locusts of this flight, which he himself saw, 
if framed into a heap, would have exceeded in magnitude 
more than a thousand and thirty times the largest pyramid 
of Egypt ; or if put on the ground close together, in a band 
of a mile and an eighth in width, would have encircled the 
globe ! Tills immense swarm caused such a famine in the 
district of Marwar, that the natives fled for subsistence in a 
living'torrent into Guzerat and Bombay ; and out of every 

1 Orient. Mem., ii. 273. 

2 ]bid, iii. 338. 

3 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., viii. 595. 

4 Ihid., viii. 613. 


hundred of these Marwarees, Captain Carnac estimates, 
ninety-nine died tliat year ! Near tlie town of Baroda, these 
poor people perished at the rate of five hundred a day ; and 
at Alimedabad, a large city of two hundred thousand in- 
habitants, one hundred thousand died from tliis awful visi- 
tation !^ 

In 1816, Captain Riley met with a flight of Locusts in 
the north of Africa, which extended in length about eight 
miles, and in breadth three. He tells us, also, he was in- 
formed that several years before he came to Mogadore, 
nearly all the Locusts in the empire, which at that time 
were very numerous, and had laid waste the country, were 
carried off in one night, and drowned in the Atlantic Ocean : 
that their dead carcasses a few days afterward were driven 
by winds and currents on shore, all along the western coast, 
extending from near Cape Spartel to beyond Mogadore, 
forming in many places immense piles on the beach : that 
the stench arising from their remains was intolerable, and 
was supposed to have produced the plague which broke out 
about that time in various parts of the Moorish dominions. - 
Before this plague in 1799, Mr. Jackson tells us, from 
Mogadore to Tangier the face of the earth was covered by 
tiiem, and relates the following singular incident which oc- 
curred at El Araiche : The whole region from the confines 
of the Sahara was ravaged by the Locusts ; but on the other 
side of the river El Kos not one of them was to be seen, 
though there was nothing to prevent their flying over it. 
Till then they had proceeded northward ; but upon arriving 
at its banks they turned to the east, so that all the country 
north of El Araiche was full of pulse, fruits and grain, ex- 
hibiting a most striking contrast to the de'solation of the 
adjoining district. At length they were all carried by a 
violent hurricane into the Western Ocean ; the shore, as in 
former instances, was covered by their carcasses, and a pesti- 
lence (confirming the statement, and verifying the supposi- 
tion of Captain Riley) was caused by the horrid stench 
which they emitted : but wiien this evil ceased, their de- 
vastations were followed by a most abundant crop.^ 

In 1825 the Russian empire was overrun to a very alarm- 

1 Penmj Mag., 1843, p. 231. 

2 Ntirrative, p. 234, and p. 238. 

3 Trao. in Morocco, p. 105. 


ing extent by young Locusts. About Kiew, as far as the eye 
could reach, they lay piled up one upon another to the height 
of two feet. Through the government of Ekatharinoslaw 
and Cherson to the Black Sea, a distance of about 400 
miles, they covered the ground so thickly that a horse could 
not walk fast through them. The sight of such an immense 
number, says an eye-witness, Mr. Jaeger, of the most destruc- 
tive and rapacious insects, justly occasioned a melancholy 
foreboding of famine and pestilence, in case they should in- 
vade the cultivated and populous countries of Russia and 
Poland. It was at this juncture, however, that the Emperor 
Alexander sent his army of thirty thousand soldiers to de- 
stroy them. These forming a line of several hundred miles, 
and advancing toward the south, attacked them with 
shovels, and collected them, as far as possible, in sacks and 
burned them. This is the largest army of soldiers seat 
against Locusts we have any record of ^ 

In 1824, Locusts made their appearance at the Glen- 
Lynden Colony in South Africa, being the first time they 
had been seen there since 1808. In 1825, they continued 
to advance from the north; in 1826, the corn crops at 
Glen-Lynden were totally destroyed by them; and in 1827, 
1828, and 1829, they extended their ravages through the 
whole of the northern and southern districts of the colony. 
In 1830, they again disappeared.^ 

The following graphic description of the swarm that 
visited Glen-Lynden in 1825 is from the pen of Mr. Pringle. 
He says : " In returning to Glen-Lynden, we passed through 
a flying swarm, which had exactly the appearance, as it ap- 
proached, of a vast snow-cloud hanging on the slope of a 
mountain from which the snow was falling in very large 
flakes. When we got into the midst of them, the air all 
around and above was darkened as by a thick cloud; and 
We rushing sound of the wings of the millions of these in- 
sects was as loud as the dash of a mill-wheel The 

column that we thus passed through was, as nearly as I 
could calculate, about half a mile in breadth, and from two 
to three miles in length."^ 

1 Jaeg. on Ins., p. 103. 

2 Pringle's S. Africa, p. 54. The Missionary Moffat has written 
the history of the scourge of 1826. — Miss. Lab , p. 447-9. 

3 Ibid. 


In 1835, a plague of Locusts made their appearance in 
China, in the neighBorhood of Quangse, and in the western 
departments of Quangtung. The military and people were 
ordered out to exterminate them, as they had done two years 
before. A more rational mode, however, was adopted by 
the authorities, of offering a bounty of twelve or fifteen cash 
per catty of the insects. They were gathered so fast for 
this price, that it was immediately lowered to five or six 
cash per catty. A strike followed, and the Locusts were 
left in quiet to do as much damage as they could. ^ 

Nieuhoflf tells us, Locusts in the East Indies are so destruc- 
tive that the inhabitants are oftentimes obliged to change 
their habitations, for want of sustenance. He adds that 
this has frequently happened in China and the Island of 

In 1828-9, in the provinces lying between the Black and 
Caspian Seas, Locusts appeared in such vast numbers as 
were never seen in that country before.'' 

In 1839, Kaffraria was again visited by Locusts, which, 
together with the war at that time, caused so great a famine 
that many persons perished for want of subsistence.* Again 
in 1849-50, this country was visited by this dreadful scourge. 
The whole country, says the Rev. Francis Fleming, was 
covered with them ; and when they arose, the cloud was so 
dense that this gentleman was obliged to dismount, and 
wait till they passed over.^ 

Mr. Jules Remy says, that at his arrival at Salt Lake, he 
observed upon the shore, on the top of the salt, a deposit of 
a foot deep which was entirely composed of dead Locusts — 
(Edipoda corallipes. These insects, driven by a high wind 
in prodigiously thick clouds, had been drowned in the lake, 
after having, during the course of the summer (of 1855), 
destroyed the rising crops, and even the prairie grass. A 
famine ensued ; but the Mormons, continues Mr. Reraf, 
only saw in this scourge a fresh proof of the truth of their 
religion, because it had happened, as among the Israelites, 
in the seventh year after their settlement in the country.^ 

1 Chinese Repository. 

2 Churchill's Col of Voy. and Trav., ii. 317. 

3 Penny Mag. 1843. 
* Backhouse, p. 264. 

5 Kaffraria, p. 79. 

6 Remy & Brenchley's Voy. to G. Salt Lake City, iv. 440, note; 
Burton's City of the Saints, p. 345. 



According to Lieutenant Warren, whose graphic descrip- 
tion is here borrowed, these devastating insects of our great 
western plains are "nearly the same as the Locusts of 
Egypt; and no one," continues this officer, "who has not 
traveled on the prairie, and seen for himself, can appre- 
ciate the magnitude of the swarms. Often they fill the air 
for many miles in extent, so that an inexperienced eye can 
scarcely distinguish their appearance from that of a shower 
of rain or the smoke of a prairie fire. The height of their 
flight may be somewhat appreciated, as Mr. Evans saw them 
above his head, as far as their size would render them visi- 
ble, while standing on the top of a peak of the Rocky Mount- 
ains 8500 feet above the plain, and an elevation of 14,500 
above that of the sea, in the region where the snow lies all 
the year. To a person standing in one of the swarms as 
they pass over and around him, the air becomes sensibly 
darkened, and the sound produced by their wings resembles 
that of the passage of a train of cars on a railroad, when 
standing two or three hundred yards from the track. The 
Mormon settlements have suffered more from the ravages of 
these insects than probably all other causes combined. They 
destroyed nearly all the vegetables cultivated last year at Fort 
Randall, and extended their ravages east as far as lowa."^ 

The Mormons, in their simple and picturesque descrip- 
tions, say that these insects ("Crickets" — (Edvpoda coral- 
lipes, Haldemars) are the produce of " a cross between the 
Spider and the Buifalo.'" 

In Egypt, in 1843, the popular idea was that the hordes 
of Locusts, which were then ravaging the laud, were sent by 
the comet observed about that time for twelve days in the 

Pliny, in the words of his translator, Holland, says : 
"Many a time have the Locusts been knowne to take their 
fliglit out of Afifricke, and with whole armies to infest Italic : 
many a time have the people of Rome, fearing a great fam- 
ine and scarcity toward, beene forced to have recourse unto 
Sybil's bookes for remedie, and to avert the ire of the gods. 

' Quot. by Burton, City of the Saints, p. 86. Cf. Long's Exped., ii. 

2 Remy and Brenchley's Voy. to G. S. Lake City, i. 440, note; 
Burton's City of the Saints, p. 345. 

3 Lepsius, Disc, in Egypt, p. 50. 



In the Cyrenaick region within Barbarie, ordained it is by 
law, every three years to wage warre against them, and so 

to conquer them Yea, and a grievous punishment 

lieth upon him that is negligent in this behalf, as if hee were 
a traitour to his prince and countrey. Moreover, within 
the Island Lemnos there is a certaine proportion and measure 
set down, how many and what quantity every man shall kill ; 
and they are to exhibit unto the magistrate a just and true 
account thereof, and namely, to shew what measure full of 
dead Locusts. And for this purpose they make much of 
laies, Dawes, and Choughs, whom they do honour highly, 
because they doe flie opposite against the Locusts, and so 
destroy them. Moreover in Syria, they are forced to levie 
a warlike power of men against them, and to make ridance 
by that means. "^ 

Democritus says, if a cloud of Locusts is coming forward, 
let all persons remain quiet within doors, and they will pass 
over the place ; but if they suddenly arrive before they are 
observed, they will hurt nothing, if you boil bitter lupines, 
or wild cucumbers, in brine, and sprinkle it, for they will im- 
mediately die. They will likewise pass over the subjacent 
spot, continues Democritus, if you catch some bats and tie 
them on the high trees of the place ; and if you take and 
burn some of the Locusts, they are rendered torpid from the 
smell, and some indeed die, and some drooping their wings, 
await their pursuers, and they are destroyed by the sun. 
You will drive away Locusts, continues this same writer, if 
you prepare some liquor for them, and dig trenches, and be- 
sprinkle them with the liquor; for if you come there after- 
ward, you will find them oppressed with sleep; but how you 
are to destroy them is to be your concern. A Locust will 
toych nothing, he concludes, if you pound absinthium, or a 
leek, or centaury with water, and sprinkle it.^ 

Pidymus says, to preserve vines from that species of 
Locusts called by the ancients Bruchus, set three grains of 
mustard around the stem of the vine at the root; for these 
being thus set, have the power of destroying the Bruchus.^ 

^'ieuhoff tells us that when a swarm of Locusts is seen in 
China, the inhabitants, to prevent their alighting, "march to 
and again the fields with their colors flying, shouting and 

1 Nat. Hist., xi. 29; Holland, Pt. I. p. 327, F-H. 

2 Owen's Geojjonika, ii. 137-8. ^ Ibid., 138. 


hallooing all the while ; never leaving them till they are 
driven into the sea, or some river, where they fall down and 
are drowned."^ 

Yolney says, that w^hen the Locusts first make their ap- 
pearance on the frontiers of Syria, the inhabitants strive to 
drive them off by raising large clouds of smoke; and if, as 
it too frequently happens, their herbs and wet straw fail them, 
they dig trenches, in which they bury them in great numbers. 
The most elhcacious destroyers of these insects are, how- 
ever, he adds, the south and southeasterly winds, and the 
bird called the Samarraar.^ 

Capt. Riley tells us, it is said at Mogadore, and believed 
by the Moors, Christians, and Jews, that the Bereberies in- 
habiting the Atlas Mountains have the power to destroy 
every flight of Locusts that comes from the south, and from 
the east, and thus ward off this scourge from all the coun- 
tries north and west of this stupendous ridge, merely by 
building large fires on the parts of the mountains over 
which the Locusts are known always to pass, and in the 
season when they are likely to appear, which is at a definite 
period, within a certain number of days in almost every year. 
The Atlas being high, and the peaks covered with snow, 
these insects become chilled in passing over them, when, 
seeing the fires, they ar.e attracted by the glare, and plunge 
into the flame. What degree of credit ought to be attached 
to this opinion, Capt. Riley says he does not know, but is 
certain that the Moorish Sultan used to pay a considerable 
sum of money yearly to certain inhabitants of the sides of 
the Atlas, in order to keep the Locusts out of his dominions. 
He also adds, the Moors and Jews affirmed to him, that 
during the time in which the Sultan paid the said yearly 
stipend punctually, not a Locust was to be seen in his do- 
minions ; but that when the Emperor refused to pay the 
stipulated sum, because no Locusts troubled his country, 
and thinking he had been imposed upon, that the very same 
year the Locusts again made their appearance, and have 
continued to lay waste the country ever since. '^ 

An impostor, who is believed to have been a French ad- 
venturer, at one time, it is said, endeavored to persuade the 

1 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., vii. 257. 

2 Volney's Trav., i. 387. 

3 Riley's Narrative, p. 236-7. 


people of Morocco that he could destroy all the Locusts by 
a chemical process.^ 

The superstitious Tartars of the Crimea, in order to rid 
their country of its most destructive enemy, the Locusts, at 
one time sent over to Asia Minor, whence these insects 
had come, to procure Dervises to drive them away by their 
incantations, etc. These divines prayed around the mosques, 
and, as a charm, ordered water to be hung out on the mina- 
rets, which, with the prayers, were meant to entice a species 
of blackbird to come in multitudes and devour the Locusts ! 
The water thus hung out is said to be still preserved in the 
mosques. On this occasion, the Dervises collected eighty 
thousand rubles, the poorest shepherd giving half a ruble. -^ 

We read in "Purchas's Pilgrims," of Locusts being exor- 
cised and excommunicated, so that they immediately flew 
away !^ From this interesting collection the following is 
clipped : "In the yeere 1603, at Fremona, great misery hap- 
pened by Grasse-hoppers, from which Paez freed the Catho- 
likes, by Letanies and sprinkling the Fields with Holy-water ; 
when as the Fields of Heretikes, seuered only by a Ditch, 
were spoyled by them. Yea, a Heretike vsing this sacred 
sprinkling, preserued his corne, which, to a Catholike neg- 
lecting in one Field, was lost, and preserued in another by 
that coniured aspersion (so neere of kinne are these Locusts 
to the Deuill, which is said to hate Holy-water)."^ 

In the south of Europe rewards are oflFerecl for the col- 
lection both of the Locusts and their eggs; and at Mar- 
seilles, it is on record that, in the year 1613, 20,000 francs 
were paid for this purpose. In 1825, the same city paid a 
sum of 6200 francs for destroying these pests to agricul- 
ture.^ We read in the eighty-first volume of the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, that most of the Agricultural Societies of 
Italy have offered premiums for the best method of destroy- 
ing Locusts : that in many districts several thousand persons 
are employed in searching for the eggs; that in four days 
the inhabitants of the district of Ofauto collected at one 
time 80,000 sacks full, which were thrown into the river.'' 

1 Kichardson's Sahara, i. 338. 

2 The Mirror, xv. 429. 

3 Pllr/r., ii. 1047. 
* Ibid., ii. 1186. 

5 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Set. 

6 Gent. Mag., Ixxxi. (Pt. II.} 273. 



The noise Locusts make when engaged in the work of 
destruction has been compared to the sound of a flame of 
fire driven by the wind, and the effect of their bite to that of 
fire,^ Volney says: "The noise they make, in browsing on 
the trees and herbage, may be heard at a great distance, and 
resembles that of an array foraging in secret." His follow- 
ing sentence may also be introduced here: "The Tartars 
themselves are a less destructive enemy than these little ani- 
mals.'" Robbins compares their noise to that of small pigs 
when eating corn.^ The noise produced by their flight and 
approach, the poet Southey has strikingly described : 

Onward they came a dark continuous cloud 
Of congregated myriads numberless, 
The rushing of whose wings was as the sound 
Of a broad river headlong in its course 
Plunged from a mountain summit, or the roar 
Of a wild ocean in the autumn storm. 
Shattering its billows on a shore of rocks!* 

Another comparison may be introduced here, to give some 
idea of the infinite numbers of these insects. Dr. Clarke 
compares a cloud of them to a flight of snow when the 
flakes are carried obliquely by the wind. They covered his 
carriage and horses, and the Tartars assert that people are 
sometimes suffocated by them. The whole face of nature 
might have been described as covered with a living veil. 
They consisted of two species — Locusta tariarica and L. 
migratoria ; the first is almost twice the size of the second, 
and, because it precedes it, is called by the Tartars the 
herald or messenger.^ 

In the Account of the admirable Voyage of Domingo 
Gonsales, the little Spaniard, to the World of the Moon, by 
Help of several Gansa's, or large Geese, we find the follow- 
ing : " One accident more befel me worth mention, that during 
my stay, I say, I saw a kind of a reddish cloud coming to- 
ward me, and continually approaching nearer, which, at last, 
I perceived, was nothing but a huge swarm of Locusts. He 
that reads the discources of learned men concernino; them 

1 A^ide Bochart, Hierozoic, L. IV. c. 5, 474-5. 

2 Volney, Trav., i. 304. 

3 Robbins' Journal, p^228. 
* Southey's Thalaba, i. 171. 
6 Clarke's Travels, i. 348. 



(as John Leo, of Africa, and others, who relate that they 
are seen for several days in the air before they fall on the 
earth), and adds thereto this experience of mine, will easily 
conclude that they can come from no other place than the 
globe of the raoon."^ 

To accompany this piece of satire, the following suits 

A Chinese author, quoted by Rev. Thomas Smith, ob- 
serves, that Locusts never appear in China but when great 
floods are followed by a very dry season ; and that it is his 
opinion that they are hatched by the sun from the spawn of 
fish left by the waters on the ground !^ 

So far the history of the Locust has been but a series of 
the greatest calamities which human nature has suffered — 
famine, pestilence, and death. No wonder that, in all ages 
and times, these insects have so deeply impressed the imag- 
ination, that almost all people have looked on them with 
superstitious horror. We have shown how that their de- 
vastations have entered into the history of nations. Their 
effigies, too, like those of other conquerors of the earth, 
have been perpetuated in coins. 

We are the army of the great God, and we lay ninety-and- 
nine eggs ; were the hundredth put forth, the world would be 
ours — such is the speech the Arabs put into the mouth of 
the Locust. And such is the feeling the Arabs entertain of 
this insect, that they give it a remarkable pedigree, and the 
following description of its person : It has the head of the 
horse, the horns of the stag, the eye of the elephant, the 
neck of the ox, the breast of the lion, the body of the scor- 
pion, the hip of the camel, the legs of the stork, the wings 
of the eagle, and the tail of the dragon.^ 

The Mohammedans say, that after God had created man 
from clay, of that which was left he made the Locust : and 

1 Harleian lUisceL, ii. 523. 

^ Xaiure and Art, vi. 109. 

3 Bochart, Ilierozoic, Pt, II L. iv. c. 5, 475. — Much of this descrip- 
tion is quite oriental, but such is the general resemblance to some of 
the animals mentioned, that in Italy it still bears the name of "Caval- 
letta." A German name for this Locust, as well as the Grasshopper 
(before mentioned), is the "Hay-horse." About the Locust's neck, 
too, the integuments have some resemblanCi^ to the trappings of a 
horse; some species, however, have the appearance of being hooded. 
In the Bible, Locusts are compared to horses. — .loel, ii. 4 ; Kev. ix. 7. 
Ray says, '■'■Caput oblvngum, cqui in^tar prona ■y^ecians.''^ 


in utter despair, they look upon this devastating scourge as 
a just chastisement from heaven for their or their nation's 
sins, or as directed by that fatality in which they all be- 

The wings of some Locusts being spotted, were thought 
by many to be leaves from the book of fate, in which letters 
announcing the destiny of nations were to be read. Paul 
Jetzote, professor of Greek literature at the Gymnasium of 
Stettin, wrote a work on the meaning of three of these let- 
ters, which were, according to him, to be seen on the wings 
of those Locusts which visited Silesia in HI 2. These let- 
ters were B. E. S., and formed the initials of the Latin 
words "Bella Erunt Saeva," or "Babel Est Solitudo;" also 
the German words, "Bedeutet Erschreckliche Schlacten," 
portending frightful battles, "Bedeutet und Erfreuliche 
Siege," portending happy victories. There are Greek and 
Hebrew sentences likewise, in which, no doubt, the pro- 
fessor showed as much learning, judgment, and spirit of 
prophecy as in those already quoted.^ 

A quite common belief in our own country is, that every 
Locust's wing is marked with either the letter W, portend- 
ing War, or the letter P, portending Peace. 

Not content with the dreadful presence of this plague, the 
inhabitants of most countries took that opportunity of add- 
ing to their present misery by prognosticating future evils. 
The direction of their flight pointed out the kingdom doomed 
to bow under the divine wrath. The color of the insect 
designated the national uniform of such armies as were to 
go forth and conquer.^ 

Aldrovandus states, on the authority of Cruntz, that 
Tamerlane's army being infested by Locusts, that chief 
looked on it as a warning from God, and desisted from his 
i designs on Jerusalem.* 

Mouffet says : " If any credit may be given to Apomasaris, 
a man most learned in the learning of the Indians, Persians, 
and Egyptians, to dream of the coming of Locusts is a sign 
of an array coming against us, and so much as they shall 
seem to hurt or not hurt us, so shall the enemy. "^ 

1 Riley's Narrative, p. 231. 

2 Ins. (Murray, 1838), ii. 186. 

^ Ibid., 1^1. ^ Ibid. 

5 Tkeatr. Ins.. p. 125. TopseVs llisl. of Beasts, p. 088. 


We now turn to the history of the Locust as an article 
of food — a striking benefit directly derived from insects. 
For as they are the greatest destroyers of food, so as some 
recompense they furnish a considerable supply of it to nu- 
merous nations — as they cause, they are frequently the means 
of preventing famines. They are recorded to have done 
this from the remotest antiquity. 

In the curious account given by Alexis of a poor Athe- 
,nian family's provisions, mention of this insect is found : 

Foi' our best and daintiest cheer, 
Through the bright half of the year, 
Is but acorns, onions, peas, 
Ochros, lupines, radishes, 
Vetches, wild pears nine and ten, 
With a Locust now and then.i 

Diodorus Siculus, who lived about threescore years be- 
fore our Saviour's birth, first, if I mistake not, described 
the Acridophagi, or Locust-eaters, of Ethiopia. He says 
they are smaller than other men, of lean and meager 
bodies, and exceeding black: that in the spring the south 
winds rise high, and drive an infinite number of Locusts out 
of the desert, of an extraordinary bigness, furnished with 
most dirty and nasty colored wings ; and these are plentiful 
food and provision for them all their days. This historian 
has also given us an account of their peculiar mode of 
catching these insects : In their country there is a large and 
deep vale, extending far in length for many furlongs to- 
gether : all over this they lay heaps of wood and other 
combustible material, and when the swarms of Locusts are 
driven thither by the force of the winds, then some of the 
inhabitants go to one part of the valley, and some to another, 
and set the grass and other combustible matter on fire, which 
was before thrown among the piles ; whereupon arises a 
great and suffocating smoke, which so stifles the Locusts as 
they fly over the vale, that they soon fall down dead to the 
ground. This destruction of them, he continues, is con- 
tinued for many days together, so that they lie in great 
heaps ; and the country being full of salt, they gather these 
heaps together, and season them sufficiently with this salt, 
which gives them an excellent relish, and preserves them a 

1 St, John's Man. and Cast, of And . Greeks, iii. 95. 


long time sweet, so that they have food from these insects all 
the year round. 

Diodorus concludes his history of this people, with an 
account of the strange and wonderful death that comes to 
them at an early age, the result of eating this kind of food : 
They are exceeding short-lived, never living to be over 
forty ; and when they grow old, winged lice breed in their 
flesh, not only of divers sorts, but of horrid and ugly shapes ; 
that this plague begins first at the abdomen and breast, and 
in a short time eats and consumes the whole body. (Phthi- 
riasis. y 

Strabo, most probably quoting frora'the above passage 
from Diodorus, speaks of a nation bordering on that of the 
Struthophagi, or Bird-eaters, whose food consisted entirely 
of Locusts, and who were carried off by the same most horri- 
ble disease.^ 

Pliny remarks : " The people of the East countries make 
their food of grasshoppers, even the very Parthians, who 
otherwise abound in wealth.'"^ 

The Arabs, who are compelled at the present day to in- 
habit the desert of Sahara, welcome the approach of Locusts 
as the means, oftentimes, of saving them from famishing 
with hunger. Robbins tells us their manner of preparing 
these insects for food is, by digging a deep hole in the 
ground, building a fire at the bottom, and filling it with 
wood. Then, after the earth is heated as hot as possible, 
and the coals and embers taken out, they prepare to fill the 
cavity with the live Locusts, confined in a bag holding about 
five bushels. Several hold the bag perpendicularly over the 
hole with the mouth near the surface of the ground, while 
others stand round with sticks. The bag is then opened, 
and the Locusts shaken with great force into the hot pit, 
while the surrounding persons immediately throw sand upon 
them to prevent their flying off. The mouth of the hole is 
now completely covered with sand, and another fire built 
upon the top of it. When the Locusts are thoroughly roast- 
ed and become cool, they are picked out with the hand, 
thrown upon tent-cloths, or blankets, and placed in the 

1 Diod. Sic. mat., L. III. c. 2. Booth's Trans., 170-1. 

2 Strabo. Geoff., L. XVI. c. 4, ^13. 

3 Nat. Hist., xi. 26. Holl. Pt. I. p. 325. E. Cf. Pliny, Xat. Illst., 
xi. 29. 


sua to dry. During this process, which requires two or 
three days, they must be watched with the utmost care, to 
prevent the live Locusts from devouring them, if a fliglit 
should heppen to be passing at the time. When perfectly 
dry, they are pounded slightly, pressed into bags, or skins, 
and are ready for transportation. To prepare thera now for 
present eating, they are pulverized in mortars, and mixed 
with water sufficient to make a kind of dry pudding. They 
are, however, sometimes eaten singly without pulverizing, 
after breaking off the head, wings, and legs. Mr. Robbins 
considers them nourishing food.^ 

Locusts are sometimes boiled at Wadinoon for food for 
men and beasts.^ 

The Arabs of Morocco, we learn from Mr. Jackson, 
esteem Locusts a great delicacy ; and, during the summer 
of 1799 and the spring of 1800, after the plague had 
almost depopulated Barbary, dishes of them were served 
up at the principal repasts. Their usual way of dressing 
these insects, was to boil them in water half an hour, then 
sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and fry them, adding a 
little vinegar. The body of the insect is only eaten, and 
resembles, according to this gentleman, the taste of prawns. 
For their stimulating qualities, the Moors prefer them to 
pigeons. A person may eat a plateful of them containing 
two or three hundred without any ill effects.^ In another 
place, however, Mr. Jackson says the poor people, when 
obliged to live altogether on this kind of food, become mea- 
ger and indolent.^ 

In Morocco, the price of provisions falls when the Locusts 
have entered the neighborhood.^ 

The authority of Capt. Riley is, that Locusts are esteemed 
very good food by the Moors, Arabs, and Jews of Barbary, 
who catch largo numbers of thera in their season, and throw 
them, while alive and jumping, into a pan of boiling argan 
oil, where they are allowed to remain, hissing and frying, 
till their wings are burned off and their bodies sufficiently 
cooked ; they are then poured out and eaten. Riley says 

1 Rob. Journal, p. 172. 

2 Ihid., p. 228. 

3 .Jackson's Morocco, p. 104. 
* lUd., p. 106. 

5 Wand, and Adv. in S. Afr., i. 131 


they resemble, in consistence and flavor, the yelks of hard- 
boiled hens' eggs.^ 

Capt. Beecliey tells us he saw many asses, heavily laden 
with Locusts for food, driven into the town of Mesurata, in 

Barth, in Central Africa, saw whole calabashes filled with 
roasted Locusts, which, he says, occasionally form a consider- 
able part of the food of the natives, particularly if their 
grain has been destroyed by this plague, as they can then 
enjoy not only the agreeable flavor of the dish, but also 
take a pleasant revenge for the ravages of their fields.^ 

Adanson, after describing an immense swarm of Locusts 
that covered an extent of several leagues which he saw, 
says the negroes of Gambia eat these insects, and have dif- 
ferent ways of dressing them — some pounding and boiling 
them in milk, others only boiling them on coals.* 

Dr. Sparrman says the Hottentots rejoice greatly upon 
the arrival of the Locusts, although they never fail to de- 
stroy every particle of verdure on the ground. But, con- 
tinues the doctor, they make themselves ample amends for 
this loss, for, seizing these marauding animals, they eat them 
in such numbers as, in the space of a few days, to get visi- 
bly fatter and in a better condition. The females are prin- 
cipally eaten, especially when about to migrate, before they 
are able to fly, when their wings are short and their bodies 
heavy and distended with eggs. The soup prepared of 
these is of a brown coffee color, and, when cooled, from the 
eggs has a fat and greasy appearance.^ 

Dr. Sparrman also relates a curious notion which the 
Hottentots about the Yisch River have with respect to the 
origin of the Locusts : that they proceed from the good will 
of a great master-conjurer a long way to the north, who, 
having removed the stone from the mouth of a certain deep 
pit, lets loose these insects in order to furnish them with 
food.*^ This is not unlike the account, given by the author 
of the Apocalypse, of the origin of the symbolical Locusts, 

1 Riley's Narrat., p. 237. 

2 Exped. to Africa, p. 107. 

3 Cent. Africa, ii. 30. 

* Pinker ton' a Col. of Voy. and Trav., xvi. 034. 
s Travels to C. of Good Hupe, i. 203. 
« Ibid. 


which are said to ascend upon an angel's opening the pit of 
the abyss. ^ 

The Korannas and Bushmen of the Cape save the Locusts 
in large quantities, and grind them between two stones into 
a kind of a meal, which they mix with fat and grease, and 
bake in cakes. Upon this fare, says Mr. Fleming, they live 
for months together, and chatter with the greatest joy as 
soon as the Locusts are seen approaching.^ 

Locusts in Madagascar are greatly esteemed by the na- 
tives as food.^ 

The account of the missionary Moffat differs somewhat 
from and is much more complete than Mr. Fleming's and 
Dr. Sparrman's. He says the natives of S. Africa embrace 
every opportunity of gathering Locusts, which can be done 
during the night. Whenever the cloud alights at a place 
not very distant from a town, the inhabitants turn out with 
sacks, and often with pack-oxen, gather loads, and return 
next day with millions. The Locusts are then prepared for 
eating by simple boiling, or rather steaming, as they are put 
into a large pot with a little water, and covered closely up; 
after boiling for a short time, they are taken out and spread 
on mats in the sun to dry, when they are winnowed, some- 
thing like corn, to clear them of their legs and wings; and, 
when perfectly dry, are put into sacks, or laid upon the 
house floor in a heap. The natives eat them whole, adding 
a little salt when they can obtain it, or pound them in a 
wooden mortar; and, when they have reduced them to 
something like meal, they mix them with a little water and 
make a cold stir-about. 

When Locusts abound, the natives become quite fat, and 
would even reward any old lady who would say that she 
had coaxed them to alight within reach of the inhabitants. 

Mr. Moffat thinks the Locust not bad food, and, when 
well fed, almost as good as shrimps.'' 

The plan of gathering Locusts by night is occasionally 
attended with danger. " It has happened that in gathering 
them people have been bitten by venomous reptiles. On 
one occasion a woman had been traveling for several miles 


1 Revel, ix. 2, 3. 

2 Fleming's Kaffraria, p. 80. 

3 Holman's Travels, p. 487. 
* Miss. Lab., p. 448-9. 



with a large bundle of Locusts on her head, when a serpent, 
which had been put into the sack with them, found its way 
out. The woman, supposing it to be a thong dangling about 
her shoulders, laid hold of it with her hand, and, feeling that 
it was alive, instantly precipitated the bundle to the ground 
and fled. "1 

Pringle, in his song of the wild Bushman, has the follow- 
ing lines : 

Yea, even the wasting Locust-swarm, 

Which mighty nations dread, 
To me nor terror brings nor harm ; 
I make of them my bread. 2 

Flights of Locusts are considered so much of a blessing in 
South Africa, that, as Dr. Livingstone states, the rain- 
doctors sometimes promised to bring them by their incanta- 

Carsten Niebuhr says that all Arabians, whether living in 
! their own country or in Persia, Syria, and Africa, are ac- 
' customed to eat Locusts. They distinguish several species 
of insect, to which they give particular names. The red 
Locust, which is esteemed fatter and more succulent than 
any other, and accordingly the greatest delicacy, they call 
3luken; another is called Dubbe, but they abstain from it 
because it has a tendency to produce diarrhoea. A light- 
colored Locust, as well as the Muken, is eaten. 

In Arabia, Locusts, when caught, are put in bags, or on 
strings, to be dried; in Barbary, they are boiled, and then 
dried upon the roofs of the houses. The Bedouins of 
Egypt roast them alive, and devour them with the utmost 
voracity. Niebuhr says he saw no instance of unwhole- 
someness in this article of food ; but Mr. Forskal was told 
it had a tendency to thicken the blood and bring on melan- 
choly habits. The former gentleman also says the Jews in 
Arabia are convinced that the fowls, of which tlie Israelites 
ate so largely of in the desert, were only clouds of Locusts, 
and laugh at our translators, who have supposed that they 
found quails where quails never were.* 

The wild Locusts upon which St. John fed have given rise 

^ Quot. in Anderson's L. Ngami, p. 284. 

2 Ibid., p. 283. 

3 Trav. and Res. in S. Africa, p. 48. 

* Pinkerton's Col. ofVoy. and Trav.-, x. 189. 



to great discussion — some authors asserting them to be the 
fruit of the carob-tree, while others maintain they were the 
true Locusts, and refer to the practice of the Arabs in ^'yria 
at the present day. " They who deny insects to have been 
the food of this holy man," says Hasselquist, "urge that 
this insect is an unaccustomary and unnatural food; but 
tlrey would soon be convinced of the contrary, if they would 
travel hither, to Egypt, Arabia, or Syria, and take a meal 
with .the Arabs. Roasted Locusts are at this time eaten by 
the Arabs, at the proper season, when they can procure 
them ; so that in all probability this dish has been used in 
the time of St. John. Ancient customs are not here sub- 
ject to many changes, and the victuals of St. John are not 
believed uimatural here ; and I was assured by a judicious 
Greek priest that their church had never taken the word in 
any other sense, and he even laughed at the idea of its be- 
ing a bird or a plant. "^ 

Mr. Forbes incidentally remarks that in Persia and Ara- 
bia, roasted Locusts are sold in the markets, and eaten with 
rice and dates, and sometimes flavored with salt and spices.^ 

The Acridites lincola {Gryllus Egyptians of Linna3us) 
is the species commonly sold for food in the markets of 

In fact, Locusts have been eaten in Arabia from the re- 
motest antiquity. This is evinced by the sculptured slabs 
found by Layard at Kouyunjic; for, among other attend- 
ants carrying fruit, flowers, and game, to a banquet, are seen 
several bearing dried Locusts fastened on rods. And being 
thus introduced in this bas-relief among the choicest deli- 
cacies, it is most probable they were also highly prized by 
the Assyrians. Layard has figured one of these Locust 
bearers, who upon the sculptured slab is about four and a 
half feet in height.^ 

The Chinese regard the Locust, when deprived of the 
abdomen, and properly cooked, as passable eating, but do 
not appear to hold the dish in much estimation.'' 

Mr. Laurence Oliphant, in Tientsin, China, saw bushels 
of fried Locusts hawked about in baskets by urchins in the 

1 Hasselq. Trav., p. 419. 

2 Orient. Mem., i. 46. 

3 Layard's Nin. and Bab., p. 289. 
* Chinese Reposilory. 


streets. Locust-hunting, be asserts, was a favorite and 
profitable occupation among the juvenile part of the com- 
munity. He thought the taste not unlike that of peri- 

Williams says: "The insect food (of the Chinese) is con- 
jBned to Locusts and Grasshoppers, Ground-grubs and Silk- 
worms ; the latter are fried to a crisp when cooked.'" 

Dampier says in the Bashee (Philippine) Islands, Locusts 
are eaten as a regular food. The natives catch them in 
small nets, when they come to devour their potato- vines, 
and parch them over the fire in an earthen pan. When thus 
prepared the legs and wings fall off, and the heads and backs, 
which before were brownish, turn red like boiled shrimps. 
Dampier once ate of this dish, and says he liked it well 
enough. When their bodies were full they were moist to 
the palate, but their heads cracked in his teeth.^ 

Ovalle states that in the pampas of Chili, bread is made 
of Locusts and of Mosquitos.* 

According to Mr. Jules Remy, our Western Indians eat 
in great quantities what are generally there called Ct^ickets, 
the Q^dipoda corallipes} 

In the southern parts of France, M. Latrielle informs us, 
the children are very fond of the fleshy thighs of Locusts.'' 

The Arabs believe the Locusts have a government among 
themselves similar to that of the bees and ants ; and when 
" Sultan Jeraad," King of the Locusts, rises, the whole mass 
follow him, and not a solitary straggler is left behind to 
witness the devastation. Mr. Jackson himself evidently 
believed this from the manner he has narrated it.'^ An Arab 
once asserted to this gentleman, that he himself had seen 
the great "Sultan Jeraad," and described his lordship as 
being larger and more beautifully colored than the ordinary 

Capt. Riley also mentions that each flight of Locusts is 
said to have a king which directs its movements with great 

1 Lord Elgin's Miss, to China and Japan, p. 273. 
'^ Middle Kingdom, ii. 50. 

3 Vol/., i. 430. Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., xi. 49. 

4 Ibid., xiv. 128. 5 Vol. ii. p. 525. 
^ Cuvier, An. King. — Ins., ii. 205. 

7 Jackson's Morocco, p. 103. ^ md,^ p. 106. 

^ Narrative, p. 235. 


The Chinese believe the same, and affirm that this leader 
is the largest individual of the whole swarm. ^ 

Benjamin Bullifant, in his observations on the Natural 
History of New England, says: "The Locusts have a kind 
of regimental discipline, and as it were commanders, which 
show greater and more splendid wings than the common 
ones, and arise first when pursued by fowls, or the feet of a 
traveler, as I have often seriously remarked."" 

The truth, however, is found in the Bible. They have no 

The Saharawans, or Arabs of the desert, "whose hands 
are against every man,"^ and who rejoice in the evil that 
befalls other nations, when they behold the clouds of Locusts 
proceeding toward the north are filled with the greatest 
gladness, anticipating a general mortality, which they call 
El-khere, the good, or the benediction ; for, when Barbary 
is thus laid waste, they emerge from their arid recesses in 
the desert and pitch their tents in the desolated plains.^ 

Pausanias tells us, that in the temple of Parthenon there 
was a brazen statue of Apollo, by the hand of Phidias, which 
was called Parnopius, out of gratitude for that god having 
once banished from that country the Locusts, which greatly 
injured the land. The same author asserts that he himself 
has known the Locusts to have been thrice destroyed by 
Apollo in the Mountain Lipylus, once exterminating them 
by a violent wind; at another time by vehement heat; and 
the third time by unexpected cold.^ 

At a time when there were great swarms of Locusts in 
China, as we learn from Navarette, the Emperor went out 
into his gardens, and taking up some of these insects in his 
hands, thus spoke to them : The people maintain themselves 
on wheat, rice, etc., you come to devour and destroy it, 
without leaving anything behind ; it were better you should 
devour my bowels than the food of my subjects. Having 
concluded his speech, the monarch was about to put them in 
a fair way of "devouring his bo\vels" by swallowing them, 
when some that stood by telling him they were venomous, 

1 Chinese Repository. 
'^ Phil. Trans, for \ 698. 
3 Frov. XXX. 27. 
^ Genes, xvi. 12. 

5 .Jackson's Travels in Morocco, p. 105-6. 

6 Hist, of Greece, b. i. c. 24. 


he nobly answered, "I value not ray life when it is for tlie 
good of my subjects and people to lose it," and immediately 
swallowed the insects. History tells us the Locusts that 
very moment took wing, and went off without doing any 
more damage; but whether or not the heroic Emperor 
recovered leaves us in ignorance.^ 

Mr. J. M. Jones gives the following ludicrous account of 
the capture of a Locust in the Bermudas. While walking 
one hot day in the vicinity of the barracks at St. George's, 
with his lamented friend, the late Col. Oakly (56th Regt.), 
on the lookout for insects, a very fine specimen of the 
Locust sprung up before them. The former chased it for a 
while unavailingly, but determined not to be balked of his 
prey; the colonel then joined in the pursuit, and after a 
sharp and hot chase, bagged his game right before a sentry- 
box ; the sentry, as in duty bound, standing with arms pre- 
sented, in the presence of a field officer, who was, however, 
in a rather undignified position to receive the salute. They 
had gained their prize, however, and had a hearty laugh, in 
which we fancy the sentry could scarcely help joining.^ 

Capt. Drayson, in his South African Sporting, tells the 
following anecdote : A South African, riding through a 
flock of Locusts, was struck in the eye by one of them, and, 
though blinded momentarily in the injured eye, he still kept 
the other on the insect, which sought to escape by diving 
among the crowd on the ground. So, dismounting, he cap- 
tured it, passed a large pin through its body, and thrust it 
in his waistcoat pocket; and whenever the damaged eye 
smarted, he pulled it out again, and stuck the pin through 
it in a fresh place. ^ 

Darwin tells us that when the "Beagle" was to windward 
of the Cape de Verd Islands, and when the nearest point of 
land, not directly opposed to the trade-wind, was Cape 
Blanco on the coast of Africa, 370 miles distant, a large 
Grasshopper — Acri/dium — flew on board !* But Sir Hans 
Sloane mentions a much more remarkable flight in his His- 
tory of Jamaica ; for when the Assistance frigate was about 

1 Hist. Acct. of China, b. ii. c. 15, and Church Col. of Voy. and 
Trav., i. 95. 

'^Naturalist in Bermuda, p. 112. 
3 S. African Sport., p. 220. 
* Darwin's Res., p. 159. 



300 leaf^ues to windward of Barbados, he says a Locust 
alig'lited on the forecastle among the sailors !^ 

Several species of Locusts are beautifully marked ; these 
were sought after by young Jewish children as playthings.^ 

The eggs of the Chargol Locust, Truxalis iiasuta?, the 
Jewish women used to carry in their ears to preserve them 
from the earache.^ 

The word Locust, Latin Locusta, is derived by the old 
etymologists from locus, a place, and ustiis, burned, — 
"quod tactu multa urit morsu vero omnia erodat." True 
Locusts are the Acridiiim, or Criquefs, of Geoffroy, and 
the Gryllus of Fabricius. The Migratory-locust, Locusta 
migratoria, a rather small insect, is the most celebrated 
species of the family. To it almost all the devastations 
before mentioned have been attributed. It is most probable, 
however, many species have been confounded under the same 

In Spain, as we are told by Osbeck, the people of fashion 
keep a species of Locust — called there Gryllo — in cages — 
grillaria, — for the sake of its song.* De Pauw says that, 
like Canary birds, they were kept in cages to sing during 
the celebration of mass.^ 

The song of a Spanish Gryllo on one occasion, if we may 
credit the historian, was the means of saving a vessel from 
shipwreck. The incident evinces the perilous situation of 
Caiieza de Vara, in his voyage toward Brazil, and is related 
by Dr. Southcy in his history of that country as follows : 

"AVhen they had crossed the Line, the state of the water 
was inquired into, and it was found, that of a hundred casks 
there remained but three, to supply four hundred men and 
thirty horses. Upon this, the Adelantado gave orders to 
make for the nearest land. Three days they stood toward 
it. A soldier, who had set out in ill health, had brought a 
Gryllo, or ground cricket, with him from Cadiz, thinking to 
be amused by the insect's voice ; but it had been silent the 
whole way, to his no little disappointment. Now, on the 
fourth morning, the Gryllo began to sing its shrill rattle, 
scenting, as it was immediately supposed, the land. Such 

1 Hist, of Jam., ii. 201. 

2 Smith's Bib. Diet. 3 md, 
^ Travels, i. 71. 

5 Egypt a/ui China, ii. 106. 


was the miserable watch which had been kept, that upon 
looking out at the warning, they perceived high rocks within 
bowshot; against which, had it not been for the insect, they 
must inevitably have been lost. They had just time to drop 
anchor. From hence they coasted along, the Gryllo sing- 
ing every night, as if it had been on shore, till they reached 
the Island of St. Catalina."^ 

To account for the singular sound produced by the Platy- 
phyllon concavum, which much resembles the expression 
Katy did, so much so that the insect is now called the Katy- 
did, — a curious legend is told in this country, and particu- 
larly in Virginia and Maryland. Mrs. A. L. Ruyter Dufour 
has kindly embodied it in the following verses for me : 

Two maiden sisters loved a gallant youth, 

Once in the far-otf days of olden time : 
With all of woman's fervency and truth ; — 

So runs a very ancient rustic rhyme. 

Blanche, chaste and beauteous as a Fairy-queen, 
Brave Oscar's heart a willing captive led ; 

Lovely in soul as was her form and mien, 

While guileless love its light around her shed. 

A .Juno was the proud and regal Kate, — 

Her love thus scorn'd, her beauty thus defied, 

Like Juno's turn'd her love to vengeful hate :—' 
Mysteriously the gallant Oscar died. 

Bereft of reason, faithful Blanche soon lay ; — 
The mystery of this fearful fate none knew, 

Save proud, revengeful Kate, who would not say 
It wa"? her hand had dared the deed to do. 

Justice and pity then to Jove appealed. 

That the dark secret be no longer hid ; 
Young Oscar's spirit he at once concealed, 

That cries, each summer night, Kate, Katy-did! 

Hose Hill, B.C., June 24, 1861. 

If a Katy-did enters your house, an unlooked-for visitor 
will speedily come. If it sings there, some of your family 
will be noted for fine musical powers. These superstitions 
obtain in Maryland. 

1 Hist, of Brazil, i. 105. 



Termitidae — White-ants. 

The Termites or Wliite-ants (which are ants only by a 
misnomer) are found in both the Indies, in Africa, and in 
South America, where they do vast damage, in consequence 
of tlieir eating and perforating wooden buildings, utensils, 
furniture, and indeed all kinds of household stuff, which are 
utterly destroyed by them if not timely prevented. They 
are found also in Europe, and, about thirty years ago, from 
the extent of their ravages in the West of France, and par- 
ticularly at Rochelle, caused considerable alarm. ^ 

There is a story commonly told, if not commonly credited 
throughout India, of the Termites demolishing a chest of 
dollars at Bencoolen, which is in a great degree cleared up 
by the following anecdote introduced by Mr. Forbes in his 
Memoirs : A gentleman having charge of a chest of money, 
unfortunately placed it on the floor in a damp situation ; 
and, as a matter of course in that climate, the box was 
speedily attacked by the Termites, which hac^ their burrow 
just under the place the treasure stood. Soon annihila- 
ting the bottom, these devouring insects were not any more 
ceremonious in respect to the bags containing the specie ; 
which, being thus let loose, fell piece by piece gradually into 
the hollows in the Termites' burrow. When the cash was 
demanded, and not to be found, all were greatly amazed at 
the wonderful powers, both of teeth and stomachs, of the 
little marauders, which were supposed to have consumed 
the silver and gold as well as the wood. But, after some 
years, however, the house requiring repair, the whole sum 
was found several feet deep in the earth ; and, thanks, the 

1 Baird's Ci/clop. of Hat. Sci. The species here referred to was 
the Termes lucifuga. 


Termites were rescued from that obloquy which the sup- 
posed power of feasting on precious metals had cast on their 
whole race.^ 

Kempfer, during his stay at a Dutch fort on the coast of 
Malabar, one morning discovered some peculiar marks like 
arches upon his table, about the size of his little finger. 
Suspecting they were the work of Termites, he made an ac- 
curate examination, and, much to his surprise, found not 
only what he expected to be true, but that these voracious 
insects had pierced a passage of that thickness up one leg 
of the table, then across the table, and so down again 
through the middle of another leg into the floor ! What 
made it the more wonderful was that it had all been done in 
the few hours that intervened between his retiring to rest 
and his rising.^ 

Mr. Forbes, on surveying a room which had been locked 
up during an absence of a few weeks, observed a number of 
advanced works in various directions toward some prints 
and drawings in English frames ; the glasses appeared to 
be uncommonly dull, and the frames covered with dust. 
''On attempting," says he, "to wipe it off, I was astonished 
to find the glasses fixed on the wall, not suspended in frames 
as I left them, but completely surrounded by an incrustation 
cemented by the White-ants, who had actually eaten up the 
deal frames and* back-boards, and the greater part of the 
paper, and left the glasses upheld by the incrustation, or cov- 
ered way, which they had formed during their depredation."^ 

It is even asserted, says Kirby and Spence, that the su- 
perb residence of the Governor-general at Calcutta, which 
cost the East India Company such immense sums, is now 
going rapidly to decay in consequence of the attacks of 
these insects. But not content with the dominions they have 
acquired, and the cities they have laid low on Terra Firma, 
encouraged by success, the White-ants have also aimed at 
the sovereignty of the ocean, and once had the hardihood 
to attack even a British ship of the line — the Albion ; and, 
in spite of the efforts of her commander and his valiant crew, 
having boarded they got possession of her, and handled her 

1 Orient. Mem., i. 3G3-4. 

2 Kempf. Japan, ii. 127; also Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. arid Trav., 
vii 701. 

3 Orient. Mem., i. 362. 


SO roughly, that when brought into port, being no longer 
fit for service, she was obliged to be broken up.^ 

Lutfullah, in his Autobiography, relates the following : 
" I returned the couch kindly sent to me by a friend, with 
my thanks, and made my bed on the ground, placing my 
new desk of Morocco leather at the head to serve as a pil- 
low, and went to bed. In the morning, when roused by the 
bugle, I found my bed strewed with damp dust, my skin ex- 
coriated in some parts, and my back irritated in others. I 
called my servant, who was saddling ray horse. 'Mahdilli,' 
said I angrily, 'you have been throwing dust all over my 
bed and self, in shaking the trappings of the horse near my 
bed in the tent.' — ' No, sir, I have done no such thing,' was 
his reply. When I took up my cloak it fell to pieces in my 
hand ; the blanket was in the same state, and the bottom of 
my desk, with some valuable papers, were destroyed. ' What 
misfortune is this ?' cried I to Mahdilli, who immediately 
brought a burning stick to examine the cause, and coolly 
observed, * It is the White-ants, sir, and no misfortune, but 
a piece of bad luck, sir.' Poor man ! in all mishaps, I 
always found him attaching blame to destiny, and never to 
his own or my imprudence."- 

The Caffres, as we are informed by Mr. Latrobe, when 
first permitted to settle at Guadenthal, before they could 
build ovens, according to the custom of their'country, availed 
themselves of the Ant-hills found in that neighborhood; for, 
having destroyed the inhabitants by fire and smoke, they 
scooped them out hollow, leaving a crust of a few inches in 
thickness, and used them for baking, putting in three loaves 
at a time.'^ 

Mr. Southey says that in Brazil the Spaniards hollow out 
the nests of the Termites, and use them for ovens.* The 
authority of Messrs. Kidder and Fletcher is, that in Brazil, 
"the Termites' dwelling is sometimes overturned by the 
slaves, the hollow scooped wider, and is then used as a bake- 
oveu to parch Indian-corn."^ 

Mr. Latrobe also tells us that the clay of which these 

1 Introd., i. 247. 

2 Autohiog., Lond., 1858, p. 222-3. 

3 Lntr. S. Africa, p. 315. 

4 ///.v<. of Brazil, i. 319. 

5 Kid. and Flctch., Brazil, p. 443. 



Ant-bills are formed, is so well prepared by the industrious 
Termites, Termes beUicosus, that it is used for the floors 
of rooms in South Africa both by the Hottentots and 

Mr. Southey states that in Brazil "the Spaniards pul- 
verize the nests of the Termites, and with the powder form 
a flooring for their houses, which becomes as hard as stone, 
and on which it is said no fleas or other insects will harbor."^ 
The early Spanish settlers built the walls of their houses of 
the same earth ; and some of which, which were erected in 
the seventeenth century, are said to be still in existence.^ 

Ant-hills, or rather the Termites which inhabit them, 
have also been used as an instrument of perhaps the most 
infernal torture the ingenuity of man has ever invented. 
For, in South Africa, at one time, the wretched victim, 
whether prisoner of war or offending subject, having been 
smeared with some oily substance, was partially interred in 
one of these heaps, and, if not first roasted to death by the 
burning sun, was literally devoured alive by the myriads of 
insects which have their habitation there. It has been as- 
serted, that even some Euglishmen have met this dreadful 

At Unyamwezi, in the lake regions of Central Africa, 
the natives chew the clay of Ant-hills as a substitute when 
their tobacco fails. They call this clay "sweet earth." It 
is said the Arabs have also tried it without other effects 
than nausea.^ 

The goldsmiths of Ceylon employ the powdered clay of 
Ant-hills in preference to all other substances in the prepa- 
ration of crucibles and moulds for their fine castings, for so 
delicate is the trituration to which the Termites subject this 
material;*^ and Knox says, "the people use this finer clay 
to make their earthen gods of, it is so pure and fine.'" 

Termites, as an article of food, are eaten by the inhabit- 
ants of many countries. Mr. Koenig, in his essay on the 
history of these insects, read before the Society of Natural- 

1 S. Africa, p. 315. 

^ Hist, of Brazil, i. 319. 

3 Kidder and Fletcher, Brazil, p. 442. 

^ Barter's Dorp and Veld, p. 81. 

5 Burton's Central Africa, i. 202. 

6 Tennent, Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, p. 412. 
^ Knox, Ceylon, Ft. I. cli. vi. p. 24. 


ists of Berlin, tells us, that to catch the Termites before 
their emigration, the natives of the East Indies make two 
holes in the nest, one to windward, and the other to leeward ; 
at the latter aperture, they place a pot, rubbed with aromatic 
herbs. On the windward side they make a fire, the smoke 
of which drives these insects into the pots. By this method 
they take a great quantity, of which they make, with flour, 
a variety of pastry, which they sell to the poorer i)eople. 
This author adds, that in the season in which this aliment 
is abundant, the abuse of it produces an epidemic colic and 
dysentery, which carries off the patient in two or three 
hours. ^ 

The Africans, says Mr. Smeatham, are less ingenious in 
catching and preparing them. They content themselves in 
collecting those which fall into the water at the time of 
emigration. They skim them ofl* the surface with calabashes, 
filling large caldrons with them, then grill them in iron 
pots, over a gentle fire, stirring them as coffee is stirred. 
They thus eat them by handfuls, without sauce, or any other 
preparation, and find them delicious. This gentleman has 
several times eaten them cooked in this manner, and thinks 
them delicate, nourishing, and wholesome, being sweeter than 
the grub of the palm-tree weevil (Calandra palmarum), 
and resembling in taste sugared cream or sweet almond 
paste. ^ 

The Hottentots, Dr. Sparrman informs us, eat them 
greedily boiled and raw, and soon grow fat and plump upon 
this food.^ 

An idea may be formed of this dish by what once occurred 
to Dr. Livingstone on the banks of the Zouga, in South 
Africa. The Bayeiye chief Palani visiting this traveler while 
eating, he gave him a piece of bread and preserved apricots ; 
and as the chief seemed to relish it much, he asked him if 
he had any food equal to that in his country. "Ah !" said 
the chief, ''did you ever taste White-ants?" As the doctor 
never had, he replied, "Well, if you had, you never could 
have desired to eat anything better."^ 

In the lake regions of Central Africa, says Burton, man 

1 Phil. Trans., Ixxi. 167-8, note. 2 jbid. 

3 Voy. to Cape of Good Hope, i. 261 ; Cf. Alexander's Exped. into 
Africa, i. 52. 

* Trav. in S. Africa, p. 501. 


revenges himself upon the White-ant, and satisfies his 
craving for animal food, which in those regions oftentimes 
becomes a principle of action, — a passion, — by boiling the 
largest and fattest species, and eating them as a relish with 
his insipid porridge.^ 

Buchanan says the Termes, or White-ant, is a common 
article of food among one of the Hindoo tribes ; Mr. Forbes 
says, of the low castes in Mysore, and the Carnatic.^ Cap- 
tain Green relates that, in the ceded districts of India, the 
natives place the branches of trees over the nests, and then 
by means of smoke drive out the insects ; which attempting 
to fly, their wings are broken off by the mere touch of the 

The female Termite, in particular, is supposed by the 
Hindoos to be endowed with highly nutritive properties, 
and, we are told by Mr, Broughton, was carefully sought 
after and preserved for the use of the debilitated Surjee 
Rao, Prime-minister of Scindia, chief of the Mahrattas.* 

The Hottentots not only eat the Termites in their perfect 
state, but also, when their corn is consumed and they are 
reduced to the necessity, in their pupa. These pupae, which 
they call "rice," on account of their resemblance to that 
grain, they usually wash, and cook with a small quantity of 
water. Prepared in this way they are said to be palatable ; 
and if the people find a place where they can obtain them 
in abundance, they soon become fat upon them, even when 
previously much reduced by hunger. A large nest will 
sometimes yield a bushel of pupce.^ 

Termite queens in the East Indies are given alive to old 
men for strengthening the back.*^ 

1 Burton's Cent. Africa, i. 202. 

2 Buchanan, i. 7; Forbes, Orient. Mem., i. 305. 

3 Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i. 308, note. 

* Letters loritten in a Mahratta Camp in 1809. 

5 Backhouse, p. 584. 

6 Fhil. Trans., Ixxi. 167-8, note. 



Ephemeridae — Day-flies. 

The name of Ephemeridae has been given to the insects, 
so called, in consequence of the short duration of their lives, 
when they have acquired their final form. There are some 
of them which never see the sun ; thej are born after it is Sfft, 
and die before it reappears on the horizon. 

These insects, indifferently called also Day-flies and May- 
flies, usually make their appearance in the districts watered 
by the Seine and the Marne, in the month of August; and 
in such countless myriads, that the fishermen of these rivers 
believe they are showered down from heaven, and accordingly 
call the living cloud of them manna — manna for fish, not 
men. Reaumur once saw them descend in this region so 
fast, that the step on which he stood by the river's bank was 
covered by a layer four inches thick in a few minutes. He 
compares their falling to that of snow with the largest 

Scopoli assures us that such swarms are produced every 
season in the neighborhood of some particular spots in the 
Duchy of Carniola, that the countrymen think they obtain 
but a small portion, unless every farmer can carry off about 
twenty cartloads of them into his fields for the purpose of a 

Libellulidae — Dragon-flies. 

On account of the long and slender body, peculiar to the 
insects of this family, they are with us sometimes called 
DeviVs Darning-needles, but more commonly Dragon-flies. 
In Scotland they are known by the name of Flying Adders^ 
for the same reason. The English, from an erroneous belief 
that they sting horses, call them Horse-stingers. In France, 
from their light and airy motions, and brilliant, variegated 
dress, they are called Demoiselles; and in Germany, for the 
same reason, and that they hover over, and lived during 

1 Memoirs, vi. 485. Quot. by K. and S. Tntrod., i. 284. Cuv. An. 
Kingd. — Im., ii. 315. Ins. Trans., p. 373. 

2 Quot. by Shaw, ZooL, vi. 250. 


their first stages in, water, Wasser-jungfern — Virgins of the 
Water. Another German name for them is Florfliegen — 
Gauze-flies, in allasion to their net-like wings. Oar boys 
also call them Snake-feeders and Snake-doctors, in the be- 
lief that they wait upon snakes in the capacity of feeders 
and doctors; and so firm are they in this belief, that fre- 
quently I have been laughed at for asserting the contrary 
to them. The belief probably arose from the manner in 
which the Dragon-fly sometimes falls a prey to the snakes. 
Hovering over ponds, they are fond of alighting on little 
sticks and twigs just out of the water, and mistaking the 
heads of snakes, which probably swam there for the purpose, 
for such twigs, they are instantly caught by the snakes. 

On the 30th and 31st of May, 1839, immense cloud-like 
swarms of Dragon-flies passed in rapid succession over the 
German town of Weimar and its neighborhood. They were 
the Libellula depressa, a species which, in general, is rather 
scarce in that part of Germany. The general direction of 
this migration was from south by west to north by east. 
The insects were in a vigorous state, and some of the flocks 
flew as high as 150 feet above the level of the River Ilm. 

At Gottingen on June the 1st, at Eisenach on May the 30th 
and 31st of the same year, swarms of the same species were 
seen flying from east to west; and at Calais, June 14th, 
similar clouds, though of a different species, were noticed 
on their way toward the Netherlands. At Halle, also, on 
May 30th, a short time before a thunder-storm, swarms of 
the Dragon-fly, L. quadrimaculata, were seen by Dr. Buhle, 
flying very rapidly from south to north. The L. quadri- 
maculata is not generally found in the neighborhood of 

This wonderful migration, for it is a phenomenon of rare 
occurrence, extended from the 51st to the 52d degree of 
latitude, and was observed within 27° 40' and 30° east of 
Ferro. But the instance of Calais renders it probable that 
it extended over a great part of Europe. 

Another migration of Dragon-flies was observed at 
Weimar on the 28th of June, 1816. The insects, in this 
instance, belonged also to the L. depressa. They were 
taken then, as were they also in 1839, for locusts by the 
common people, and looked upon as the harbingers of fam- 
ine and war. 

In these migrations they followed the direction of the 


rivers, with the currents. They did not, however, always 
keep close by them, since they must spread over wide dis- 
tricts in order to subsist. 

To account for the great multiplication of these insects, in 
the year 1839, is by no means difficult. From the beginning 
to the 21st of May (in the latter part of which month, it will 
be remembered, they appeared), the weather had been ex- 
ceedingly rainy ; rivers and lakes overflowed their banks 
and inundated immense areas of low grounds, whereby 
myriads of the larvae and jyupse (which live entirely in 
water) of the Lihtdlulse, which, under other circumstances, 
would have remained in deep water, and become the prey of 
their many enemies, fish, etc., were brought into shallow 
water, and hot weather following, from May 21st to May 
29th, converted these shallows and swamps into true hot- 
beds for them. Their development into perfect insects was 
thus rendered rapid, so that, somewhat earlier than usual, 
they appeared, and in far greater, their undiminished, num- 
bers ; and, being very voracious in their appetite, as well in 
the imago as the pupa state, they were obliged to migrate 
immediately to satisfy it.^ 

Mr. Gosse observed in Jamaica, Oct. 8th, 1845, a swarm 
of Dragon- flies in the air, about twenty feet from the level 
of the ground. They floated and danced about, over the 
stream of water that runs through Blue-fields, much in the 
manner of gnats, which they resembled also in their immense 
numbers.^ And Rev. T. J. Bowen, on one occasion, in de- 
scending the Ogun Biver (in the Yoruba country, Africa), 
met millions of Dragon-flies, about one-fourth of an inch in 
length, making their way up the country by following the 
course of the stream.^ 

It is commonly said among us, that if a Dragon-fly be 
killed, there will soon be a death in the family of the killer. 

1 Mag. of Nat. Hist., iii. 51G-8. 
'^ Gosse's Jamaica, p. 251. 

3 Gram, and Diet, of the Yoruba Language Smitlison. Public, 
p. xiii. 


Myrmeleonidae — Ant-lions. 

When children meet with the funnel-shaped pitfalls of the 
larva of the Ant-lion, Myrmeleon formicales, they are wont 
to put their heads close to the ground and softly sing ooloo- 
ooloo-ooloo, till the larva, mistaking the sound for that of a 
fly escaping his trap, throws up a shower of sand to bring 
its supposed victim down again. 

Ant-lions are held in great esteem in many sections of our 
country, so much so that they are not suffered to be in any 
way injured. 




Uroceridae — Sirex. 

In a work called ''Ephemerides des curieux de la Jia- 
ture,^^ is an observatioQ afiparently relative to this family of 
insects, which, if true, would be very extraordinary indeed. 
It is there said, that in the town of Czierck and its environs, 
there were seen in 1679 some unknown winged insects which, 
with their stings, mortally wounded both men and beasts. 
They fell abruptly upon men without provocation, and at- 
tached themselves to the naked parts of the body : the sting 
was immediately followed by a hard tumor, and if care was 
not taken of the wound within the first three hours, by hastily 
extracting the poison from it, the patient died in a few days 
after. These insects killed five and thirty men in this dio- 
cese, and a great number of oxen and horses. Toward the 
end of September, the winds brought some of them into a 
small town on the confines of Silesia and Poland ; but they 
were so feeble on account of the cold, that they did but little 
mischief there. Eight days afier, they all disappeared. 
These animals have all of them four wings, six feet, and 
carry under the belly a long sting provided with a sheath, 
which opens and separates in two. They make a very sharp 
noise in attacking men. Some of them are ornamented with 
yellow circles (Sirex gigas, or S. fusicornis'^ M. Latreille), 
and others are similar to them in all respects, but they have 
the back altogether black, and their stings are more venomous 
{S. spectrum or juvencus?). The author of these observa- 
tions gives an extended description of the species with the 
yellow circles, which he accompanies with figures, in which 
the character of Sirex may be clearly distinguished.^ 

1 Cuv. An. King. — Ins., ii. 404. 



Cynipidse — Gall-flies. 

In the spring of 1694, some Galls hung down like chains 
upon the oaks in Germany, and the common people, who 
had never observed them before, imagined them to be mag- 
ical knots. ^ 

A very old and common superstition is, that every oak- 
apple contains either a maggot, a fly, or a spider: the first 
foretelling famine, the second war, and the third, the spider, 
pestilence. Matthiolus gravely affirms this conceit to be 
true ;^ and the learned Sir Thomas Browne, in his Pseudo- 
doxia Epidemica, has thought it worth his while, with much 
gravity, to explode it. He, however, while combating one 
popular error, falls himself into another, for want of that 
philosophical knowledge of insects which later times have 
succeeded in obtaining. We pass this by, and hurry to his 
conclusion : "We confess the opinion may hold some verity 
in analogy, or emblematical phancy; for pestilence is pro- 
perly signified by the spider, whereof some kinds are of a 
very venomous nature : famine by maggots, which destroy 
the fruits of the earth ; and war not improperly by the fly, if 
we rest in the phancy of Homer, who compares the valiant 
Grecian unto a fly. Some verity it may also have in itself, as 
truly declaring the corruptive constitution in the present 
sap and nutrimental juice of the tree ; and may conse- 
quently discover the disposition of the year according to 
the plenty or kinds of those productions; for if the putrefy- 
ing juices of bodies bring forth plenty of flies and maggots, 
they give forth testimony of common corruption, and declare 
that the elements are full of the seeds of putrefaction, as the 
great number of caterpillars, gnats, and ordinary insects do 
also declare. If they run into spiders, they give signs of 
higher putrefaction, as plenty of vipers and scorpions are 
confessed to do ; the putrefying materials producing ani- 
mals of higher mischief according to the advance and higher 
strain of corruption."^ 

1 They were produced by that species of Gall-fly, Cynips, de- 
lineated by Reaumur in his Hist, of Ins., vol. iii. tabl. 4U. The 
Mirror, xxx. 234. 

2 K. and S. Introd., i. 33. 

3 Browne's Works, ii. 376. 


Moufet says : " In oak acorns and spongy apples some- 
times worms breed, and astrologers presage that year to be 

likely to produce a great famine and dearth It is 

strange that Ringelbergius writes, lib. de experiment, that 
these worms may be fed to be as big as a serpent, with 
sheep's milk ; yet Cardanus confirms the same, and shewes the 
way to feed them. Lib. de rer. varietat.^^^ 

There is a very curious operation performed at the pres- 
ent day in the Levant with one of these Gall-flies, which is 
termed caprification. The object of it is to hasten the ma- 
turity of figs ; and the species employed for that purpose is 
the Gynips ficui< caricsc, or Cxjnips pjsenes of Linnaeus ; it 
consists in placing on a fig-tree, which does not produce 
flowers or early figs, some of these last strung together with 
a thread. The insects which issue from them, full of fecun- 
dating dust, introduce themselves through the eye into the 
interior of the second figs, fecundate by this means all the 
grains, and provoke the ripening of the fruit. 

This operation, of which some authors have spoken with 
admiration, appeared to Hasselquist and Olivier, both com- 
petent observers, who have been on the spot, to be of no 
advantage whatsoever in fertilizing the fig;- and scientific 
men of the present day generally hold that it cannot be of 
any utility, for each fig contains some small flowers toward 
the eye, capable of fecundating all the female flowers in the 
interior, and moreover this fruit will grow, ripen, and be- 
come excellent to eat even when the grains are not fecun- 

A curious kind of gall, produced on the rose-trees by the 
Cynips rosse, which is known by the name of Bedeguar, 
has been placed among the remedies which may be success- 
fully employed against diarrhoea and dysentery, and useful 
in cases of scurvy, stone, and worms.* 

Tlie galls of commerce, commonly called Nut-galls, are 
found on the Querciis infectoria, a species of oak growing 
in the Levant, and are produced by the Cynips GaJlse 
tinctoriim. When gathered before the insects quit them, 
the nut-galls contain more astringent matter, and are then 
known as Black, Blue, or Green-galls. When the insects 

1 Theatr. Ins.. 252. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 108-'). 
^ Hasselquist.'s Travels, p. 253. 
^ Ciiv. -4??. King. — ///.«., ii 424. 
* Ibid., p. 427. 


have escaped, they are less astringent, and are called White- 
galls. They are of great importance in the arts, being very 
extensively used in dyeing and in the manufacture of ink 
and leather. They are the most powerful of all the vegeta- 
ble astringents, and are sometimes used, both internally and 
externally, with great effect in medicine. Those imported 
from Syria are the most esteemed, and, of these, those 
found in the neighborhood of Moussoul are considered the 

The gall of the field cirsium formerly enjoyed a very 
great reputation, for it was considered, when carried simply 
in the pockety as a sovereign remedy against hemorrhages. 
It, no doubt, owed this virtue to its resemblance to the prin- 
cipal sign of this disease, the swelling of the vein.^ 

The galls of the ground-ivy, produced by the Cynips 
glecome, have been eaten as food in France; they have an 
agreeable taste, and to a high degree the odor of the plant 
which bears them. Reaumur, however, is doubtful whether 
they will ever rank with good fruits.^ 

The galls of the sage (Salvia pomifera, S. triloba, and 
S. officinalis), which are very juicy, like apples, and crowned 
with rudiments of leaves resembling the calyx of that fruit, 
are gathered every year, as an article of food, by the in- 
habitants of the Island of Crete. This is the statement 
of Poumefort. Olivier confirms it, and adds : They are 
esteemed in the Levant for their aromatic and acid flavor, 
especially when prepared with honey and sugar, and form a 
considerable article of commerce from Scio to Constanti- 
nople, where they are regularly exposed in the market.* 

The celebrated "Dead Sea Fruits," often called Poma 
insana, or Mad-apples, Mala Sodomitica, etc., which have 
given rise to great controversy among Oriental scholars and 
Biblical commentators, are produced by the Gynip)s in- 
sana on the low oaks (Quercus infectoria) growing on 
the borders of the Dead Sea.^ 

1 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. Cf. Cnv.—Ins., ii. 428; K. and S. 
Introd., i. 318. Medict. Virt. Cf. Geoft'roy's Treatise on Subs, used in 
Physic, p. 369. 

2 Cuv. An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 428. Cf. GeoflFrov's Subs, used in Phys., 
p. 369. 

3 Reaura. iii. 416. Cf. Cuv. Ibid. ji. 429. K. and S. Introd., i. 31 0. 
^ Smith's Introd. to Bot., p. 346. Olivier's Trav., i. 139. Cf. Ibid. 
5 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 

146 roRMiciD.5: — ants. 

Formicidse — Ants. 

Herodotus, who wrote in the fifth century before the birth 
of Christ, tells the following fabulous story without the 
slightest trace of diffidence or disbelief: There are other 
Indians bordering on the City of Caspatyrus and the country 
of Pactyica, settled northward of the other Indians, whose 
mode of life resembles that of the Bactrians. They are the 
most warlike of the Indians, and these are they who are 
sent to procure the gold ; for near this part is a desert by 
reason of the sand. In this desert then, and in the sand, 
there are Ants in size somewhat less indeed than dogs, but 
larger than foxes. Some of them are in the possession of 
the King of the Persians, which were taken there. These 
Ants, forming their habitations under ground, heap up the 
sand as the Ants in Greece do, and in the same manner ; and 
they are very like them in shape. The sand that is heaped 
up is mixed with gold. The Indians, therefore, go to the 
desert to get this sand, each man having three camels, on 
either side a male one harnessed to draw by the side, and a 
female in the middle ; this last the man mounts himself, hav- 
ing taken care to yoke one that has been separated from her 
young as recently as possible; for camels are not inferior to 
horses in swiftness, and are much better able to carry bur- 
dens The Indians then, adopting such a plan and 

such a method of harnessing, set out for the gold, having 
before calculated the time, so as to be engaged in their plun- 
der during the hottest part of the day, for during the heat 

the Ants hide themselves under ground When the 

Indians arrive at the spot, having sacks with them, they 
fill these with the sand, and return with all possible expedi- 
tion ; for the Ants, as the Persians say, immediately discov- 
ering them by the smell, pursue them, and they are equaled 
in swiftness by no other animal, so that if the Indians did 
not get the start of them while the Ants were assembling, 
not a man of them could be saved. Now the male camels 
(for they are inferior in speed to the females) slacken their 
pace, dragging on, not both equally ; but the females, mind- 
ful of the young they have left, do not slacken their paoe. 
Thus the Indians, as the Persians say, obtain the greatest 
part of their gold.^ • 

1 Herod., B. 3, 102-5. Gary's Trajis., p. 214. 



Concerning these remarkable Ants, Strabo and Arrian 
have preserved the statement of Megasthenes, who traveled 
in India about two centuries later than the time of Herodo- 
tus. As given bj Strabo, who is somewhat more particular 
in his story than Arrian, it is as follows : Megasthenes, 
speaking of the Myrmeces (or Ants), says, among the Derdae, 
a populous nation of the Indians, living toward the East 
and among the mountains, there was a mountain plain of 
about 3000 stadia in circumference; that below this plain 
were mines containing gold, which the Myrmeces, in size 
not less than foxes, dig up. They are excessively fleet, and 
subsist on what they catch. In winter they dig holes and 
pile up the earth in heaps, like moles, at the mouths of the 
openings. The gold dust which they obtain requires little 
preparation by fire. The neighboring people go after it by 
stealth with beasts of burden ; for if it is done openly, the 
Myrmeces fight furiously, pursuing those that run away, and, 
if they seize them, kill them and the beasts. In order to 
prevent discovery, they place in various parts pieces of the 
flesh of wild beasts, and when the Myrmeces are dispersed 
in various directions, they take away the gold dust, and, not 
being acquainted with the mode of smelting it, dispose of 
it in its rude state at any price to merchants.^ 

Nearchus says he has himself seen several of the skins of 
these Ants, which were as large as the skins of leopards. 
They were brought by the Macedonian soldiers into Alexan- 
der's camp. 2 

Pliny, as a matter of course, believ.ed this marvelous 
story, and has inserted it in brief in his compilation of natu- 
ral history. He adds, too, that in his time there were sus- 
pended in the temple of Hercules, at Erythrse, this Ant's 
horns, which were looked upou -as quite miraculous for 
their size. He also informs us it was of the color of a cat.^ 

Strabo and Arrian, from the manner in which they refer 
to the statements of Megasthenes and Nearchus, no doubt 
disbelieved them;* not so, however, Pomponius Mela.^ 

1 Strabo, Geoq., B. xv. c. 1, I 44. Hamilton's Trans., iii. 101. Cf. 
Arrian's Ind.Hist., c. 15, Rooke's Trans., ii. 211. 

2 Ibid. 

3 Pliny, Nat. Hist., B. xi. c. 31. Bost. and Riley's Trans., iii. 39. 
* Ubi supra, and Strabo, B. xv. c. 1, ^ 37. 

5 Pomp., Vita Apollon. Tyan., B. vi. c. 1. 


M. de Yeltheim thinks this animal, which, as Pliny says, 
" has the color of a cat, and is in size as large as an Egyp- 
tian wolf," is nothing more than, and really is, the Canis 
corsac, the small fox of India, and that by some mistake it 
was represented by travelers as an ant. It is not improba- 
ble, Cuvier says, that some qnadruped, in making holes 
in the ground, may have occasionally thrown up some 
grains of the precious metal. Another interpretation of 
this story has also been suggested. We find some remarks 
of Mr. Wilson, in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society, 
on the Mahabharata, a Sanscrit poem, that various tribes 
on the mountains Meru and Mandara (supposed to lie be- 
tween Hiudostan and Thibet) used to sell grains of gold, 
which they called paippilaka, or Ant-gold, which, they said, 
was thrown up by Ants, in Sanscrit called j^ippHo.ka. In 
traveling westward, this story (in itself, no doubt, untrue) 
may very probably have been magnified to its present di- 

The laborious life and foresight of the Ant have been 
celebrated throughout all antiquity, and from the wise Solo- 
mon down to the amiable La Fontaine, the sluggard has 
been referred to this insect to "learn her ways and be wise.'-^ 
The Arabians held the wisdom of these animals in such es- 
timation, that they used to place one of them in the hands of 
a newly-born infant, repeating these words: "May the boy 
turn out clever and skillful.'" But their wisdom is magnified 
by all, and in the panegyrics of their providence we always 
find the following curious notion. Plutarch, in his Land and 
Water Creatures Compared, thus mentions it: "But that 
which surpasseth all other prudence, policy, and wit, is their 
(the Ants') caution and prevention which they use, that their 
wheat and other corn may not spurt and grow. For this 
is certain, that dry it cannot continue alwayes, nor sound and 
uncorrupt, but in time will wax soft, resolve into a milky 
juice, when it turneth and beginneth to swell and chit; 
for fear, therefore, that it become not a generative seed, and 
so by growing, loose the nature and property of food for 
their nourishment, they gnaw that end thereof or head 
wher-e it is wont to spurt and bud forth.''''*' 

1 Bostick and Riley's Trans, of Pliny, iii. 39, note. 

2 Prov. vi. 6. Cf. Prov. xxx. 23. 

3 Smith's Bib. Diet. 

* Holland's Trans., p. 787. 


The ancients, observing the Ants carry their pupae, which 
in shape, size, and color very much resemble a grain of 
corn, and the ends of which they sometimes pull open to let 
out the inclosed insect, no doubt mistook the one for the 
other, and this action for depriving the grain of the embryo 
of the plant. 

Some modern writers, as Addison^ and Pluche,^ it is curi- 
ous to observe, have fallen into this ancient error ; so an- 
cient, in fact, it is that some have supposed the Hebrew name 
of the Ant to be derived from it.^ Among the poets. Prior 
asks : 

Tell me, why the A7it 

In summer'' s plenty thinks of winter's want ? 

By constant journey careful to prepare 

Her stores, and bringing home the corny ear, 

By what instruction does she bite the grain? 

Lest, hid in earth, and taking root again, 

It might elude the foresight of her care.* 

Thus Watts, also : 

They don't wear their time out in sleeping or play ; 
But gather up corn in a sunshiny day, 

And/oT- winter they lay up their stores : 
They manage their work in such regular forms, 
One would think they foresaw all the frosts and the storms, 

And so brought their food within doors. ^ 

And Smart : 

The sage, industrious Ant, the wisest insect, 

And best econoinist of all the field: 

For when as yet the favorable sun 

Gives to the genial earth th' enlivening ray, 

All her subterranean avenues, 

And storm-proof cells, with management most meet, 
And unexampled housewifry, she frames; 
Then to the field she hies, and on her back 
Burden immense ! brings home the cumbrous corn : 
Then, many a weary step, and many a strain, 
And many a grievous groan subdued, at length 
Up the huge hill she hardly heaves it homo ; 

1 Guardian, No. 156-7. 
^ Nat. DispL, i. 128. 

3 Namahl a Namal Circumcidit. — Browne's Pseud. Epid. — ^Yorks, 
ii. 531. 

4 * Poems : Solomon. 
^ Hymns : The Emmet. 



garner f 

Nor rests she here her providence, but nips 
With subtle tooth the grain, lest from her gam 
In mischievous fertility, it steal. 
And hack to daylight vegetate its way.i 

Milton also entertained this erroneous opinion : 

First crept 
The parsijiionious Emmet, provident 
Of future, in small room large heart inclos'd; 
Pattern of just equality perhaps 
Hereafter, join'd in her popular tribes 
Of commonalty. 2 

And also Dr. Johnson : 

Turn on ih^ pr^ident Ant thy heedless eyes, 
Observe her labors, sluggard ! and be wise. 
No stern command, no monitory voice, 
Prescribes her duties or directs her choice; 
Yet timely provident she hastes away. 
To snatch the blessings of a plenteous day ; 
When fruitful Summer loads the teeming plain, 
She crops the harvest, and she stores the grain.^ 

There is an old Eastern proverb, that "what the Ant col- 
lects in a year the monks eat up in a night," which seems to 
be founded on the supposition that the Ants provide them- 
selves with stores of food. Juvenal, also, observes, in his 
Sixth Satire, that "after the example of the Ant, some 
have learned to provide against cold and hunger."* 

" Since, therefore," says Moufet, " (to winde up all in a few 
words) they (the Ants) are so exemplary for their great piety, 
prudence, justice, valour, temperance, modesty, charity, friend- 
ship, frugality, perseverance, industry and art; it is no won- 
der that Plato, in Phi\3done, hath determined, that they who 
without the help of philosophy have lead a civill life by cus- 
tom or from their own diligence, they had their souls from 
Ants, and when they die they are turned to Ants again. 
To this may be added the fable of the Myrmidons, who being 
a people of ^gina, applied themselves to diligent labour in 
tilling the ground, continual digging, hard toiling, and con- 

1 On the Omnis. of God. 

2 Par. Lost, 13. vii. 1. 484. 

3 Saturday Mag., xix. 190. 

* Lawson's Bible Cyclop., ii. 505. 


stant sparing, joyned with virtue, and they grew thereby so 
rich, that they passed the common condition and ingenuity of 
men, and Theogonis knew not how to compare them better 
than to Pismires, tiiat they were originally descended from 
them, or were transformed into them, and as Strabo reports 
they were therefore called Myrmidons. The Greeks relate 
the history otherwise than other men do ; namely, that 
Jupiter was changed into a Pismire, and so deflowered 
Eurymedusa, the mother of the Graces, as if he could no 
otherwise deceive the best Woman, then in the shape of the 
best creature. Hence ever after was he called Pismire Ju- 
piter, or, Jupiter, King of Pismires 

" They do better, in my opinion, who observe the Pismire, 
and grow rich by following his manners in labor, industry, 
rest, and study. We read of Midas that he was the richest 
King of all the West, and when he was a boy, the Pismires 
carryed grains of wheat into his mouth while he slept, and 
so foreshowed without doubt that he should be endowed 
with the Pismire's prudence, and should by his labour and 
frugality, gain so much riches, that he should be called the 
Golden boy of fortune, and the Darling of prosperity. 
^Uanus. And when the Ants did devour and eat up the 
live serpent of Tiberius Ciesar, which he so dearly loved, 
did they not thereby give him sufficient warning that he 
should take heed to himself for fear of the multitude, by 
whom he was afterwards cruelly murthered? Suetonius. ^''^ 

Of the wars and battles of the AntvS, now so familiar from 
the writings of Iluber and others, one of the oldest records 
is that given by JEneas Sylvius, who afterward became Pope 
Pius II., of an engagement contested with obstinacy by a 
great and a small species, on the trunk of a pear-tree. 
"This action," he states, "was fought in the pontificate of 
Eugenius the Fourth, in the presence of Nicholas Pistori- 
ensis, an eminent lawyer, who related the whole history of 
the battle with the greatest fidelity." Another engagement 
of the same description is recorded by Olaus Magnus, as 
having happened previous to the expulsion of Christiern 
the Second, of Sweden, and the smallest species, having 
been victorious, are said to have buried the bodies of their 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 245-6. Topsel's nisi, of Beasts, p. 1078. Vide 
Pierius' Hieroglyph., p. 73-6. 


own soldiers that had been killed, while they left those of 
their adversaries a prey to the birds. ^ 

Alexander Ross, in his Appendix to the Arcana Micro- 
cosmi, p. 219, tells us : " That the cruel battels between the 
Venetians and Insubrians, and that also between the Liegeois 
and the Burgundians, in which about thirty thousand men 
were slain, were presignified by a great combat between two 
swarms of Emmets (Ants).'" 

Ants were used in divination by the Greeks, and gener- 
ally foretold good.^ They were also considered an attribute 
of Ceres.* 

The following extract is from an English North- Country 
chap-book, entitled the Roy^l Dream Book : " To dream of 
Ants or Bees denotes that you will live in a great town or 
city, or in a large family, and that you will be industrious, 
happy, well married, and have a large family."^ The Ant 
and the Bee are common figures to express these predic- 

I heard a mother once say to her child, " Never destroy 
Ants, for they are fairies, and will so bewitch our cows that 
they will give no milk." This superstition prevails in par- 
ticular about Washington and in Virginia. 

Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali, in an interesting article on the 
Ants of India, remarks that she has often witnessed the 
Hindoos, male and female, depositing small portions of 
sugar near Ants' nests as acts of charity to commence the 
day with. 

With the natives of India, this lady also tells us, it is a 
common opinion that wherever the Red-ants colonize, pros- 
perity attends the owner of that house. "^ 

We read in Purchas's Pilgrims, that "the natives of 
Carabaia and Malabar will go out of the path if they light 
on an Ant-hill, lest they might happily treade on some of 

Other insects, as will be noticed in the course of this 

1 Mouf. Theatr. Ins., p. 242. 

2 Quot. in Brande's Pop. Antiq., iii. 224. 

3 Harwood's Grec. Antiq., p 200. 

* Stosch. CI., ii. 227-8. Fosbr. Encyd. of Antiq., ii. 738. 

5 Quot. in Brande's Pop. Antiq., iii. 134. 

6 The Mirror, xxx. 216. 
■^ Pilgrims, v. 542. 


volume, are looked upon by these people with the same 

Moufet says : " In Isthmus the priests sacrificed Pismires 
to the sun, either because5|,they thoug:ht the sun the most 
beautiful, and therefore they would offer unto him the most 
beautiful creature, or the most wise, as seeing all things, 
and therefore they offered unto him the wisest creature."^ 

In the twenty-seventh chapter of the Koran, which was 
revealed at Mecca,4Qnd entitled the Ant, we find, among 
other strange things, an odd story of the Ant, which has 
therefore given name to the chapter. It is as follows : "And 
his armies were gathered together unto Solomon, consisting 
of genii, and men, and birds; and they were led in distant 
bands, until they came to the valley of Ants.^ And an Ant, 
seeing the hosts approaching, said, Ants, enter ye into 
your habitations, lest Solomon and his army tread you under 
foot, and perceive it not. And Solomon smiled, laughing 
at her words, and said, Lord, excite me that I may be 
thankful for thy favour, wherewith thou hast favoured me, 
and my parents ; and that I may do that which is right, and 
well pleasing unto thee : and introduce me, through thy 
mercy, into paradise, among my servants, the righteous."^ 

Thevenot mentions " Solomon's Ant" among the "Beasts 
that shall enter into Paradise" in the belief of the Turks, 
and gives the following reason : " Solomon was the greatest 
king that ever was, for all creatures obey'd him, and brought 
him presents, amongst others, an Ant brought him a Locust, 
which it had dragged along by main force : Solomon, per- 
ceiving that the Ant had brought a thing bigger than itself, 
accepted the present, and preferred it before all other crea- 

Plutarch, speaking of the Ant, says : " Aratus in his prog- 
nostics setteth this down for a rain toward, when they bring 
forth their seeds and grains (pupoe), and lay them abroad to 
take the air : 

1 Theatr. Ins., 246. Topsel's HiH of Beasts, p. 1079. 

2 The valley seems to 'be so called from the great number of Ants 
which are found there. Some place it in Syria, and others in 
Tayeb. — Al Beidawi, Jallalo^ddln. 

3 The Koran, p. 310. Translated by Geo. Sale. 
* Trav. in the Levant, Pt. I. p. 41. 


154 rORMICID^ — ANTS. 

' When Ants make haste with all their eggs aload, 
Forth of their holes to carry them abroad.' "^ 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient^and Moderne Times, it is 
also asserted that " when Ants walk the thickest, and more 
than in vsuall numbers, meeting together confusedly, it is a 
manifest signe of raine.'" 

It is related of the celebrated Timour, that being once 
forced to take shelter from his enemies j^n a ruined building, 
he sat alone many hours ; and, desirous of diverting his mind 
from his hopeless condition, at length fixed his observation 
upon an Ant which was carrying a grain of corn (probably 
a pupa) larger than itself, up a high wall. Numbering the 
efforts it made to accomplish this object, he found that the 
grain fell sixty-nine times to the ground ; but the seventieth 
time it reached the top of the wall. " This sight," said 
Timour, " gave me courage at the moment, and I have never 
forgotten the lesson it conveyed."^ 

Plutarch, in his comparison between land and water crea- 
tures, narrates the following anecdote : " Gleanthus the 
Philosopher, although he maintaineth not that beasts have 
any use of reason, made report nevertheless that he was 
present at the sight of such a spectacle and occurrent as 
this. There were (quoth he) a number of Ants which went 
toward another Ant's hole, that was not their own, carrying 
with them the corp;e of a dead Ant ; out of which hole , 
there came certain other Ants to meet them on the way (as 
it were) to pari with them, and within a while returned back 
and went down again; after this they came forth a second, 
yea a third time, and retired accordingly until in the end 
they brought up from beneath (as it were a ransom for the 
dead body) a grub or little worm; which the others received 
and took upon their shoulders, and after^hey had delivered 
in exchange the aforesaid corpse, departed home."* 

Of the ingenuity of the Ant in removing obstacles, the 
following anecdote is a very appropriate illustration : A 
gentleman of Cambridge one day observed an Ant dragging 
along what, with respect to the creature's size, might be de- 
nominated a log of wood. Others were severally employed, 

1 Land and Water Creatures Compared, Holland, p. 

2 B. 7, c. 16, p. 665; printed 1613. 

3 Strong's Nat. Hist., iii. 163. 
* Hollamrs Tranx., p. 787. 


each in its own way. Presently the Ant in question came 
to an ascent, where the weight of the wood seemed for a 
while to overpower him : he did not remain long perplexed 
with it; for three or four others, observing his dilemma, 
came behind and pushed it up. As soon, however, as he 
got it on level ground, they left it to his care, and went to 
their own work. The piece he was drawing happened to 
be considerably thicker at one end than the other. This 
soon threw the poor fellow into a fresh difficulty ; he un- 
luckily dragged it between two bits of wood. After several 
fruitless efforts, finding it would not go through, he adopted 
the only mode that even a man in similar circumstances 
would have taken : he came behind it, pulled it back again, 
and turned it on its edge ; when, running again to the other 
end, it passed through without the slightest difficulty.^ 

Franklin was much inclined to believe Ants could com- 
municate their thoughts or desires to one another, and con- 
firmed his opinion by several experiments. Observing that 
when an Ant finds some sugar, it runs immediately under 
ground to its hole, where, having stayed a little while, a 
whole army comes out, unites and marches to the place 
where the sugar is, and carry it off by pieces ; and that if 
an Ant meets with a dead fly, which it cannot carry alone, 
it immediately hastens home, and soon after some more come 
out, creep to the fly, and carry it away ; observing this, he 
put a little earthen pot, containing some treacle, into a 
closet, into which a number of Ants collected, and devoured 
the treacle very quickly. He then shook them out, and 
tied the pot with a thin string to a nail which he had fast- 
ened in the ceiling, so that it hung down by the string. A 
single Ant by chance remained in the pot, and when it had 
gorged itself upon the treacle, and wanted to get off, it was 
under great concern to find a way, and kept running about 
the bottom of the pot, but in vain. At last it found, after 
many attempts, the way to the ceiling, by going along the 
string. After it was come there, it ran to the wall, and 
thence to the ground. It had scarcely been away half an 
hour, when a great swarm of Ants came out, got up to the 
ceiling, and crept along the string into the pot, and began 
to eat again. This they continued till the treacle was all 

1 Cbamb. Misc., x. 17. 


eaten ; in the mean time one swarm running down the string, 
and the other up.^ 

It has been suggested, that in such instances as the pre- 
ceding, the Ants may have been led by the scent or trace of 
treacle likely to be left by the solitary prisoner ; and the 
following case, related by Bradley, is quoted to favor the 
opinion: "A nest of Ants in a nobleman's garden dis- 
covered a closet, many yards within the house, in which 
conserves were kept, which they constantly attended till the 
nest was destroyed. Some, in their rambles, must have first 
discovered this depot of sweets, and informed the rest of it. 
It is remarkable that they always went to it by the same 
track, scarcely varying an inch from it, though they had to 
pass through two apartments ; nor could the sweeping and 
cleaning of the rooms discomfit them, or cause them to pur- 
sue a different route "'^ 

Dionisio Carli, of Piacenza, a missionary in Congo, lying 
sick at that place, was awakened one night by his monkey 
leaping on his head, and almost at the same time by his 
Blacks crying out, much to his surprise, "Out! Out I 
Father !" Thoroughly awake now, Carli asked them what 
was the matter ? " The Ants," they cried, ''are broke out, 
and there is no time to be lost I'' Not being able to stir, 
he bid them carry him into the garden, which they did, four 
of them lifting him upon his straw bed ; and yet though 
very quick about it, the Ants had already commenced crawl- 
ing up his legs. After shaking them off their master, the 
Blacks took straw and fired it on the floor of four rooms, 
where these insects by this time were over half a foot thick. 
The pests being thus destroyed, Carli was conveyed back to 
his chamber, where he found the stench so great from the 
burnt bodies, that he was forced, he says, to hold his monkey 
close to his nose ! 

These Ants, Carli relates, ate up every living object with- 
in their reach ; and of one cow, which was accidentally left over 
night in the stable through which they passed, nothing but 
the bones were found the next morning.^ We need not 
wonder at this, if we believe what Bosnian has said of the 
Black- ants of Guinea, which were so surprisingly rapacious 

1 Kalm in Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., xiii. 474. 

2 Chainb. Misc., x. 22. 

^ Piukertou's Cul. of Vuy. and Trav., xvi. 174. 


that no animal could stand before them. He relates an in- 
stance where they reduced for him one of his live sheep in 
one night to a perfect skeleton, and that so nicely that it 
surpassed the skill of the best anatomists.^ Du Chaillu 
says the elephant and gorilla fly before the attack of the 
Bashikouay-ants, and the black men run for their lives. 
Many a time has he himself, he says, been awakened out of 
a sleep, and obliged to rush out of his hut and into the 
water to save his life !^ The Driver-ants^ of Western Africa, 
A. nomma arcens, have been known to kill the Python nata- 
lensis, the largest serpent of that part of the world. "^ 

Col. St. Clair, after a visit by a species of small Red-ants, 
makes mention of the following instance, among others, of 
their singular destructiveness : "I next discovered that a 
little pet deer, which I had purchased from a negro, was 
extremely ill. I could not discover the cause of its malady, 
until, placing it on its legs, I observed that it would not let 
one foot touch the ground, and, on examining it, I found, to 
my grief, that the Red-ants had absolutely eaten a hole into 
the bone. The poor little animal pined all that day and 
died in the evening."^ 

Capt. Stedman relates that the Fire- ants of Surinam 
caused a whole company of soldiers to start and jump about 
as if scalded with boiling water ; and its nests were so 
numerous that it was not easy to avoid them.*^ And Knox, 
in his account of Ceylon, mentions a black Ant, called by 
the natives Coddia or Kaddiya,^ which, he says, "bites 
desperately, as bad as if a man were burnt by a coal of fire ; 
but they are of a noble nature, and will not begin unless you 
disturb them." The reason the Singhalese assign for the 
horrible pain occasioned by their bite is curious, and is thus 
related by Knox : "Formerly these Ants went to ask a wife 
of the Noya, a venomous and noble kind of snake;* and be- 

1 Guinea, p. 276-; Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 727. 

2 Du Chaillu, p. 312 and 108. 

3 Allied to the Stinger [ota) of Yoruba, and Idzalco, "the ligliter 
which makes one go." — T, J. Bowen. 

* Livingstone's Travels, p. 468. 
6 St. Clair's W. Lidies, i 167-8. 
6 Stedm. Surinam, ii. 94. 

' Of similar size and ferocity as the great Red-ant of Ceylon, the 
Dimiya, Formica smaragdina. — Tennent, N. H. of Ceyl., p. 424. 
s The Cobra de Capello, Naja tripudians, Merr. 


cause they had such a high spirit to dare to offer to be re- 
lated to such a generous creature, they had this virtue be- 
stowed upon them, that they should sting after this manner. 
And if they had obtained a wife of the Noya, they should have 
had the privilege to sting full as bad as he."^ Capt. Sted- 
man has a story of a large Ant that stripped the trees of their 
leaves, to feed, as was supposed by the natives of Surinam, a 
blind serpent under ground,^ which is somewhat akin to this : 
as is also another, related to Kirby and Spence by a friend, 
of a species of Mantis, taken in one of the Indian islands, 
which, according to the received opinion among the natives, 
was the parent of all their serpents.^ But, the reverse : 
Among the harmless snakes of Mexico is a beautiful one 
about a foot in length, and of the thickness of the little 
finger, which appears to take pleasure in the society of 
Ants, insomuch that it will accompany these insects upon 
their expeditions, and return with them to their usual nest. 
From this peculiarity it is called by the Spaniards and 
Mexicans the "Mother of the Ants."^ 

When in Africa, Du Chaillu was told by the natives that 
criminals in former times were exposed to the path of the 
Bashikouay-ants, as the most cruel way of putting them to 
death. ^ This dreadful manner of torturing w^as at one time 
also practiced by the Singhalese, and I have heard that sev- 
eral I3ritish soldiers have thus met their fate. The Termites 
have been referred to before as having been employed for a 
similar purpose. 

To check the ravages of the Coffee-bug, Lecanium coffea, 
Walker, which for several years was devastating some of the 
plantations of Ceylon, the experiment was made of intro- 
ducing the Red-ants, Formica jmaragdina, Fab., which 
feed greedily on the Coccus.*^ But the remedy threatened 

1 Knox, Hist. Rel. of Ceylon, Pt. I. ch. vi. p. 24. 

2 Stedrn. Surinam, ii. 142. 

3 K. and S. Introd., i. 123. 

* Smith's Nature and Art, xii. 195. Clavigero supposes that all 
the attachment which the snake shows to the Ant-hills proceeds 
from its living on the Ants themselves. 

6 Du Chaillu, p. 312. 

6 The Swiss farmers, in order to rid their trees of caterpillars, 
allure the Ants to climb the trees, where, being contined by a circle 
of pitch round the holes, hunger soon causes them to attack the 
noxious larvae. 



to be attended with some inconvenience, for, says Tennent, 
the Malabar coolies, with bare and oiled skins, were so fre- 
quently and fiercely assaulted by the Ants as to endanger 
their stay on the estates. 

The pupge or cocoons of the Ants, during the day, are 
placed near the surface of the Ant-hills to obtain heat, which 
is indispensable to the growth of the inclosed insects. This 
is taken advantage of in Europe to collect the cocoons in 
large quantities as food for nightingales and larks. The 
cocoons of a species of Wood-ant, Formica rufa, are the 
only kind chosen. In most of the towns of Germany, one or 
more individuals make a living during summer by this busi- 
ness alone. "In 1832," says a contributor to the Penny 
Encyclopedia, "we visited an old woman at Dottendorf, near 
Bern, who had collected for fourteen years. She went to 
the woods in the morning, and collected in a bag the sur- 
faces of a number of Ant-hills where the cocoons were de- 
posited, taking Ants and all home to her cottage, near which 
she had a small tiled shed covering a circular area, hollowed 
out in the center, with a trench full of water around it. After 
covering the hollow in the center with leafy boughs of wal- 
nut or hazel, she strewed the contents of her bag on the level 
part of the area within the trench, when the Nurse-ants im- 
mediately seized the cocoons, and carried them into a hollow 
under the boughs. The cocoons were thus brought into one 
I place, and after being from time to time removed, and black 
ones separated by a boy who spread them out on a table, 
1 and swept off" what were bad with a strong feather, they 
i were ready for market, being sold for about id. or 6d a 
quart. Considerable quantities of these cocoons are dried 
for winter food of birds, and are sold in the shops. "^ 

Ants not only furnish food to man for his birds, but also 
food for himself, in both the pupa and imago states. Nicoli 
Conti, who traveled in India in the early part of the fifteenth 
century, says the Siamese eat a species of Red-ant, of the 
size of a small crab, which they consider a great delicacy 
seasoned with pepper.^ At the present day, the pupae of a 
species of Ants are a costly luxury with these people. They 
are not much larger than grains of sand, and are sent to 
table curried, or rolled in green leaves, mingled with shreds 

1 Penny Encycl., sub Ant. 

2 Hakluyt Society, ii. 13. 


or very fine slices of fat pork.^ And in the province of 
Michuacan, Mexico, is a singular species of Ant, which 
carries on its abdomen "a little bagful of a sweet substance, 
of which the children are very fond : the Mexicans suppose 
this to be a kind of honey collected by the insect; but 
Clavigero thinks it rather its eggs."^ 

Piso, De Laet, Marcgrave, and other writers mention 
their being an article of food in different parts of South 
America. Piso speaks of yellow Ants called Cupia inhab- 
iting Brazil, the abdomen of which many used for food, as 
well as a large species under the name of Tama-joura: 
"Alia prffiterea datur grandis species Tama-ioura dicta 
digiti articulura ad^equans. Quarum etiam clunes dessicantur 
et friguntur pro bono alimento."^ Says De Laet : "Deuique 
formicffi hie visuntur grandissimse, quas indigenas vulgo 
comedunt ; et in foris venales habent."* And again : " For- 
micis vescebantur, easquag studiose ad victum educabant."^ 
Lucas Fernandes Piedrahita, in his Hi^toria General de 
las Conquistas del Nuevo Regno de Grranada, states that 
cakes of Cazave and Ants were eaten in that country: 
"Al tiempo de tostarlas para este efecto, dan el mismo olor 
que los quesillos, que se labran para comer asados.'"^ Her- 
rera says, the natives of New Granada made their main food 
of Ants, which they kept and reared in their yards.'^ Sloane 
confirms this, and says they are publicly sold in the markets.^ 
Abbeville de Noromba tells us these great Ants are fricasseed.* 
Schomburgk, in his journey to the sources of the Essequibo, 
one evening saw all the boys of a village out shouting and 
chasing with sticks and palm leaves a large species of winged 
Ant, which they collected in great numbers in their cala- 
bashes for food. When roasted or boiled, he says, the na- ] 
tives considered these insects a great delicacy. ^° Humboldt • 
informs us that Ants are eaten by the Marivatanos and : 
Margueritares, mixed with resin for sauce.^^ 

1 The Mirror, xxxi. 342. 

2 Smith's Nature and Art, xii. 197. 

3 Hist. Nat., i. 9, and v. 291. Cf. Sloane, Hist, of Jam , ii. 221. 
* Amer. Utriusq. Hesc, p. 333. 5 Jbid., p. 379. 
6 Southey's Com. Place Book, 3d S. p. 346-7. 

T Herrera, vi. 5, 6. 

8 Hist, of Jam., ii. 221. 9 Quoted, Ibid. 

10 Journ. of Geoff. Soc, 1841, x. 175. 

11 Quot. by K. and S. Introd., i. 309. 


Mr. Consett, in his Travels in Sweden, makes mention of 
a young Swede who ate live Ants with the greatest relish im- 
aginable.^ This author states also, that in some parts of 
Sweden Ants are distilled along with rye, to give a flavor 
to the inferior kinds of brandy.'^ 

The inhabitants of the Tonga Group have a superstitious 
belief that when their kings, and matabooles, or inferior 
chiefs, die, they are wafted to Bulotu — " the island of the 
blessed," but the spirits of the lower class remain in the 
world, and feed on Ants and lizards.^ 

Ants also furnish us with an acid, called by the chemists 
Formic, which is said to answer the same purposes as the 
acetous acid. It is obtained in two modes : 1st. By distilla- 
tion ; the insects are introduced into a glass retort, distilled 
by a gentle heat, and the acid is found in the recipient. 2d. 
By the process called lixiviation ; the Ants are washed in 
cold water, spread out upon a linen cloth, and boiling water 
poured over them, which becomes charged with the acid 

Formic acid is shed so sensibly by the wood Ant, Formica 
rufa, when an Ant-hill is stirred, that it can occasion an 
inflammation. If a living frog, it is asserted, be fixed upon 
an Ant-hill which is deranged, the animal will die in less 
than five minutes, even without having been bitten by the 

We read in Purchas's Pilgrims that the large Ant of the 
West Indies is " so poysonfull that herewith the Indians 
infect their arrowes so remedilesse, that not foure of an 
hundred which are wounded escape."*^ 

The medicinal virtues of the Ant are as follows : "Ants, 
Formica minor of Schroder, heat and dry, and incite to 
venery ; their acid smell mightily refreshes the vital spirits. 
They are said to cure the Flora, Lepra, and Lentigo. The 
eggs (pupse) are effectual against deafness, and correct the 
hairiness of the cheeks of children being rubbed thereon." 

The Horse-ant, Formica major, Schrod., ''provokes to 

1 Trav. in Swed., p. 118, Lond. 1789, 4to. ' Ibid. 

3 Jenkin's Vo^. of U. S. Explor. Exped. Com. by Wilkes, Svo. Auburn, 
1852, p. 319. 

* Cuv. An. Kingd. — Insects, ii. 489. «> Ibid. 

6 Pilgrims, iii. 996. 



venery, and the oil thereof, by infusion, is good for the gout 
and palsy. "^ 

Sloane tells us the Spaniards in the West Indies have a 
very highly valued medicated earth called "Makimaki," 
which he thinks is made of the nests of Ants.^ 

There is a sjjccies of Ant in Cayenne, Formica bispinosa, 
which collects from the borabax and silk-cottou trees a sort 
of lint which the natives value much as a styptic in cases of 

The magicians, as mentioned by Pliny, recommended that 
the parings of all the finger-nails should be thrown at the 
entrance of Ant-holes, and the first Ant to be taken which 
should attempt to draw one into the hole ; for if this, they 
asserted, be attached to the neck of a patient, he will ex- 
perience a speedy cure.* 

The two following remarkable cures effected by Ants of 
themselves are worthy of being noticed : Schuman, a mis- 
sionary among the negroes of Surinam, relates in one of 
his letters, that after a most dangerous attack of the accli- 
mating fever, his body was covered with boils and painful 
sores. He lay in his cot as helpless as a child, and had no 
one to administer any relief or food but a poor old negro 
woman, who sometimes was obliged to follow the rest to the 
plantations in the woods. One morning while she was absent, 
after spending a most restless and painful night, he observed 
at sunrise an immense host of Ants entering through the roof, 
and spread themselves over the inside of his chamber ; and 
expecting little else than that they would make a meal of 
him, he commended his soul to God, and hoped thus to be 
released from all suffering. They presently covered his bed, 
and entering his sores caused him the most tormenting pain. 
However, tliey soon quitted him, and continued their march, 
and from that time he gradually recovered his health.^ 

The second is a case of stiffness in the knee effectually 
cured: In 1798, Mrs. Jane Crabley, aged 56 years, begau 
to complain of a most torturing pain, and considerable en- 
largement of the knee-pan, which she described as, and 

^ James's jVcd. Diet. 

2 Hitit. of Jam., ii. 221. 

3 Brande's Encycl. of Sci. Lit., etc. 
* Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxviii. 7 (23). 

& SouLhey's Com. Place Book, 3d S. p. 419. 

rORMICID^ — ANTS. 163 

which her neighbors believed to be, a smart paroxysm of 
^^out. Early in February, 1799, the inflammation and pain 
entirely ceased, but the swelling continued, and rather in- 
creased. The joint of the knee, from disuse, became per- 
fectly stiff, and, owing to the particular form and size of 
her breasts, no relief could be gained by the use of crutches. 
However, toward the end of May, the Ants became so 
strangely troublesome to her, that she was sometimes obliged 
to avail herself of the help of travelers to assist her in 
changing her station. Still, however, they followed her, and 
seemed entirely attracted by her now useless knee. She 
was at first considerably annoyed by these little torments, 
but, in a few days, became not only reconciled to their 
intrusion, but was desirous of having her chair placed 
where she imagined them most to abound, even giving them 
freer access to her knee by turning down her stocking ; for, 
she said, "the cold numbness she suffered just around the 
patella was eased and relieved by their bite ; and that it was 
even pleasurable;" and, strange to say, these insects bit her 
nowhere else. The skin at first was pale and sallow, but 
began now to assume a lively red color; a clear and subtile 
liquid oozed from every puncture the Ants had left; the 
swelling and stiffness of the joint gradually abated; and, 
on the 25th of July, she walked home with the help of a 
stick, and before winter perfectly recovered the use of her 

Says Plutarch, as translated by Holland: "The bear find- 
ing herself upon fulness given to loth and distaste for food, 
she goes to find out Ants' nests, where she sits her down, 
lining out her tongue, which is glib and soft with a kind of 
sweet and slimy humour, until it be full of Ants and their 
egges, then draweth it she in again, swalloweth them down, 
and thereby cureth her lothing stomack.'" 

Also, in the Treasurie of Avncient and Moderne Times, 
we find: "The Bear, being poysoned by the Hearbe named 
Mandragoras, or Mandrake, doth purge his bodie by the 
eating of Ants or Pismires."'^ 

M. Huber, initiated in the mysteries of the life of these 

1 Gent. Mag., Pt. II. Isxiii. 704-5, and Kirby's Wond. Museum, i. 

2 Land and Water Creatures Compared, Holl. Trans., p. 793. 
8 B. 7, c. XV. p. 664. Printed 1613. 


insects, and whose observations can be most relied on, has 
made us acquainted with two of their maladies : one is a 
species of vertigo, occasioned, as he thinks, by a too prreat 
heat of the sun, and which transforms them for two or three 
minutes into a sort of bacchantes; the other malady, much 
more severe, causes them to lose the faculty of directing 
themselves in a right line. These Ants turn in a very nar- 
row circle, and always in the same direction. A virgin 
female, inclosed in a sand-box, and attacked by this mania, 
made a thousand turns by the hour, describing a circle of 
about an inch in diam.eter ; it continued this operation for 
seven days, and even during the night. ^ 

Immense swarms of winged Ants are occasionally met 
with, and some have been recorded of such prodigious den- 
sity and magnitude as to darken the air like a thick cloud, 
and to cover the ground or water for a considerable extent 
where they settled. We find in the memoirs of the Berlin 
Academy a description of a remarkable swarm, observed by 
M. Gleditch, which from afar produced an effect somewhat 
similar to that of an Aurora Borealis, when, from the edge 
of the cloud, shoot forth by jets many columns of flame and 
vapor, many rays like lightning, but without its brilliancy. 
Columns of Ants were coming and going here and there, 
but always rising upward, with inconceivable rapidity. They 
appeared to raise themselves above the clouds, to thicken 
there, and become more and more ol)scure. Other columns 
followed the preceding, raised themselves in like manner, 
shooting forth many times with equal swiftness, or mounting 
one after the other. Each column resembled a very slender 
net-work, and exhibited a tremulous, undulating, and ser- 
pentine motion. It was composed of an innumerable mul- 
titude of little winged insects, altogether black, which were 
continually ascending and descending in an irregular man- 
ner.^ A similar kind of Ants is spoken of by ]\lr. Acco- 
lutte, a clergyman of Breslau, Which resembled columns of 
smoke, and which fell on the churches and tops of the 
houses, where they could be gathered by handfuls. In the 
German Ephemerides, Dr. Chas. Rayger gives an account 
of a large swarm which crossed over the town of Posen, and 
was directing its course toward the Danube. The whole 

1 Cuv. An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 472. 

2 Mem. Berlin Acad, for 1749. 


town was strewed with Ants, so that it was impossible to 
walk without crushing thirty or forty at every step. And 
more recently, Mr. Dorthes, in the Journal de Phyi^ique for 
1*790, relates the appearance of a similar phenomenon at 
Montpellier. The shoals moved about in different direc- 
tions, having a singular intestine motion in each column, 
and also a general motion of rotation. About sunset all 
fell to the ground, and, on examining them, they were found 
to belong to the Formica nigra of Linnaeus.^ 

"In September, 1814," says Dr. Bromley, surgeon of 
the Clorinde, in a letter to Mr. MacLeay, "being on the deck 
of the hulk to the Clorinde (then in the river Medway), my 
attention was drawn to the water by the first lieutenant ob- 
serving there was something black floating down the tide. 
On looking with a glass, I discovered they were insects. 
The boat was sent, and brought a bucketful of them on 
board; they proved to be a large species of Ant, and ex- 
tended from the upper part of Salt-pan Reach out toward 
the Great Nore, a distance of five or six miles. The column 
appeared to be in breadth eight or ten feet, and in height 
about six inches, which I suppose must have been from their 
resting one upon another."^ Purchas seems to have wit- 
nessed a similar phenomenon on shore. " Other sorts of 
Ants," says he, "there are many, of which some become 
winged, and fill the air with swarms, which sometimes hap- 
pens in England. On Bartholomew, 1613, I was in the 
island of Foulness, on our Essex shore, where were such 
clouds of these flying pismires, that we could nowhere flee 
from them, but they filled our clothes; yea, the floors of 
some houses where they fell were in a manner covered with 
a black carpet of creeping Ants, which they say drown 
themselves about that time of the year in the sea."^ 

When Colonel Sir Augustus Frazer, of the British horse- 
artillery, was surveying, on the 6th of October, 1813, the 
scene of the battle of the Pyrenees from the summit of the 
mountain called Pena de Aya, or Les Quartres Couronnes, 
he and his friends were enveloped by a swarm of Ants, so nu- 
merous as entirely to intercept their view, so that they were 

1 Penny EncycL, sub. Ant. 

2 K. and S. Introd., ii. 54. 

3 Pilgrimage, p. 1090. 



obliged to remove to another station in order to get rid of 

" Not long since," says Josselyn in his Yoyage to New 
England, London, 1674, "winged Ants were poured down 
upon the Lands out of the clouds in a storm betwixt Black- 
point and Saco, where the passenger might have walkt up 
to the Ancles in them."^ 

^yingless Ants, in swarms or armies, also migrate at par- 
ticular seasons ; but for what purpose is not clear, except 
to obtain better forage. In Guiana, Mr. Waterton says he 
has met with a colony of a species of small Ant marching 
in order, each having in its mouth a leaf; and the army ex- 
tended three miles in length, and was six feet broad. ^ 

It is recorded by Oviedo and Herrera, that the whole 
island of Hispaniola was almost abandoned in consequence 
of the Sugar-Ant, Formica omnivora of Liunagus, which, 
in 1518 and the two succeeding years, overran in such count- 
less myriads that island, devouring all vegetation, and caus- 
ing a famine which nearly depopulated the Spanish colony. 
A tradition, says Schomburgk, prevails in Jamaica that the 
town of Sevilla Nueva, which was founded by Esquivel in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, was entirely de- 
serted for a similar reason. Herrera relates that, in order 
to get rid of this fearful scourge in Hispaniola, the priests 
caused great processions and vows to be made in honor of 
their patron saint, St. Saturnin, and that the day of this 
saint was celebrated with great solemnities, and the Ants in 
consequence began to disappear. How this saint was chosen, 
we read in Purchas's Pilgrims : " This miserie (caused by the 
Ants) so perplexed the Spaniards, that they sought as strange 
a remedie as was the disease, which was to chuse some Saint 
for their Patron against the Antes. Alexander Giraldine, 
the Bishop, having sung a solemne and Pontifical Masse, 
after the consecration and Eleuation of the Sacrament, and 
devout prayers made by him and the people, opened a 
Booke in which was a Catalogue of the Saints, by lot to 
chuse some he or she Saint, whom God should please to 
appoint their Advocate against the Calamitie. And the 
Lot fell vpon Saint Saturnine, whose Feast is on the nine 

1 K. and S. Introd., u 54. 

2 Josa. Vol/., p. 118. 

8 Biiird's Cyclop, of Nat. Sci. 


and twentieth of Nouember; after which the Ant damage 
became more tolerable, and by little and little diminished, 
by God's mercie and intercession of that Saint. "^ 

These devouring Ants showed themselves about the year 
1760 in Barbados, and caused such devastations that, in 
the words of Dr. Coke, "it was deliberated whether that 
island, formerly so flourishing, should not be deserted." In 
1703, Martinique was visited by these devastating hordes; 
and about the year 1770 they made their appearance in the 
island of Granada. Barbados, Granada, and Martinique 
suffered more than any other islands from this plague. 
Granada especially was reduced to a state of the most de- 
plorable desolation; for, it is said, their numbers there 
were so immense that they covered the roads for many 
miles together ; and so crowded were they in many places 
that the impressions made by the feet of horses, which trav- 
eled over them, would remain visible but for a moment or 
two, for they were almost instantly filled up by the sur- 
rounding swarms. Mr. Schomburgk assures us that calves, 
pigs, and chickens, when in a helpless state, were attacked 
by such large numbers of these Ants that they perished, and 
were soon reduced to skeletons when not timely assisted. 
It is asserted by Dr. Coke that the greatest precaution was 
requisite to prevent their attacks on men who were afflicted 
witli sores, on women who were confined, and on children 
that were unable to assist themselves, Mr. Castle, from his 
own observation, states that even burning coals laid in their 
way, were extinguished by the amazing numbers which 
rushed upon them. 

Notwithstanding the myriads that were destroyed by fire, 
water, poison, and other means, the devastations continued 
to such an alarming extent, that in 1776 the government of 
Martinique offered a reward of a million of their currency 
for a remedy against this plague; and the legislature of 
Granada offered £20,000 for the same object ; but all at- 
tempts proved ineffectual until the hurricane in 1780 effected 
what human power had been unable to accomplish. 

In 1814, the Ants again made their appearance in the 
island of Barbados, doing considerable injury; but happily 
they did not continue long.^ 

1 Purehas's Pilgrims, iii. 998. 

2 Schomburgk's Hist, of Barbados, G40-3 ; and Coke's West Indies, 
ii. 313. 


Malouet, in visiting the forests of Guiana, of which he 
has spoken in his travels into that part of the globe, per- 
ceived in the midst of a level savanna, as far as the eye 
could reach, a hillock which he would have attributed to 
the hand of man, if M. de Prefontaine, who accompanied 
him, had not informed him that, in spite of its gigantic con- 
struction, it was the work of black Ants of the largest spe- 
cies (most probably of the genus Ponera). He proposed 
to conduct him, not to the Ant-hill, where both of them 
would infallibly have been devoured, but to the road of the 
workers. M. Malouet did not approach within more than 
forty paces of the habitation of these insects. It had the 
form of a pyramid truncated at one-third of its height, and 
he estimated that its elevation might be about fifteen or 
twenty feet, on a basis of from thirty to forty. M. de Prefon- 
taine told him that the cultivators were obliged to abandon 
a new establishment, when they had the misfortune to meet 
with one of these fortresses, unless they had sufficient 
strength to form a regular siege. This even occurred to 
M. de Prefontaine himself on his first encampment at 
Kourva. He was desirous of forming a second a little far- 
ther on, and perceived upon the soil a mound of earth simi- 
lar to that which we have just described. He caused a cir- 
cular trench to be hollowed, which he filled with a great 
quantity of dry wood, and, after having set fire to it in 
every point of its circumference, he attacked the Ant-hill 
with a train of artillery. Thus every issue was closed to 
the hostile army, which, to escape from the invasion of the 
flames and the shaking and plowing of the ground by the 
cannon-balls, was obliged to traverse, in its retreat, a trench 
filled with fire, where it was entirely cut off.^ 

The Portuguese found such prodigious numbers of Ants 
upon their first landing at Brazil, that they called them Key 
de Brazil, King of Brazil, a name which they now there 

Mr. Southey states, on the authority of Manoel Felix, that 
the Red-ants devoured the cloths of the altar in the Convent 
of S. Antonio, or S. Luiz (Maranhara, Brazil), and also 
brought up into the church pieces of shrouds from the 
graves ; whereupon the friars prosecuted them according to 

1 Cuv. An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. 471. 

2 rinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., xiv. 716. 


due form of ecclesiastical law. What the sentence was in 
this case, we are unable to learn. A similar case, however, 
the historian informs us, had occurred in the Franciscan 
Convent at Avignon, where the Ants did so much mischief 
that a suit was instituted against them, and they were ex- 
communicated, and ordered by the friars, in pursuance of 
their sentence, to remove within three days to a place as- 
signed them in the center of the earth. The Canonical 
account gravely adds, that the Ants obeyed, and carried 
away all their young, and all their stores.^ 

Annius writes, that an ancient city situate near the Yols- 
cian Lake, and called Contenebra, was in times past over- 
thrown by Ants, and that the place was thereupon commonly 
called to his day, "the camp of the Ants."^ 

Ctesias makes mention " of a horse-pismire {i.e. the bigger 
kind of them in hollow trees) which was fed by the Magi, 
till hee grew to such a vast bulke as to devour two pound 
of flesh a daye."^ 

Martial has written the following beautiful epigram on 
an Ant inclosed in amber : "While an Ant was wandering 
under the shade of the tree of Phaeton, a drop of amber 
enveloped the tiny insect; thus she, who in life was disre- 
garded, became precious by death. 

"A drop of amber from the weeping plant, 
Fell unexpected and embalmed an Ant; 
The little insect we so much contemn 
Is, from a worthless Ant, become a gem."* 

It has been said, remarks Mr. Southey, and regarded as a 
vulgar error, that Ants cannot pass over a line of chalk : the 
fact, however, is certain. Mr. Coleridge tried the experi- 
ment at Malta, he continues, and immediately discovered 
tlie cause : The formic acid is so powerful, that it acts upon 
the chalk, and the legs of the insect are burnt by the in- 
stantaneous eflervescence !^ 

Paxamus says, that if you take some Ants and burn them, 
you will drive away the others, as experience has taught us. 

1 Southey's Hist, of Brazil, iii. 334, note. 

2 Wanley's Wonders, ii. 507. 

•* Thom Browne's Works, ii. 837, note. 

* Martial, B. iv. 15. 

^ Southey, Iliist. of Brazil, i. G45. 


Ants also, he continues, will not touch a vessel with honey, 
although the vessel may happen to be without its cover, if 
you wrap it in white wool, or if you scatter white earth or 
ruddle round it. If a person, continues Paxaraus, takes a 
grain of wheat carried by an Ant wiih the thumb of his left 
hand, and lays it in a skin of Phoenician dye, and ties it 
round the head of his wife, it will prove to be the cause of 
abortion in a state of gestation.^ 

Pliny says the proper remedy for the venom of the Soli- 
puga or Solpuga Ant, and for that of all kinds of Ants, is a 
bat's hcart.^ 

Callicrates used to make Ants, and other such little crea- 
tures, out of ivory, with so much skill and ingenuity that 
other men could not discern the counterfeits from the origi- 
nals even with the help of glasses.^ 

VespidsD — Wasps, Hornets. 

Concerning the generation of the Wasp, Topsel and Moufet 
have the following: " Isidore affirms that Wasps come out 
of the putrefied carkasses of asses, although he may be mis- 
taken, for all agree that the Scarabees are procreated from 
them : rather am I of opinion with Pliny, 1. ii. c. 20, and 
the Greek authors, that they are sprung from the dead 
bodies of horses, for the horse is a valiant and warlike 
creature, hence is that verse frequently and commonly used 
among the Greeks : 

"Wasps come from horses, Bees from bulls are bred. '• 

And indeed their more than ordinary swiftnesse and their f 
eagernesse in fight, are sufficient arguments that they can \ 
take their original from no other creature (much less from | 
an asse, hart, or oxe) since that Nature never granted to 
any creatures else, to excel both in swiftness and valour. 
And surely that I may give another sense of that proverb 
of Aristotle, 

1 Owen's Geoponika, ii. 148-9. 

2 Nat. ILs(., xxix. 29. 

« Wanley's Wonders, i. 378. 


Hail the daughters of the wing-footed steed : 

this would I suppose fit to be spoken in way of jest and 
scorn to seolding women, which do imitate the hastiness and 
froward disposition of the Wasp. Other sorts of them are 
produced out of the putrid corps of the Crocodiles, if Horus 
and the JSgytians be to be believed, for which reason when 
they mean a Wasp, they set it forth by an horse or croco- 
dile. Nieander gives them the name lukosnoadon, because 
they sometimes come from the dead carkasses of wolves. 
Bellenacensis and Yicentius say, that Wasps come out of 
the putrefaction of an old deer's head, flying sometimes out 
of the eyes, sometimes out of the nostrils. , . . There are 
those also that affirm that Wasps are begotten of the earth 
and rottenness of some kind of fruits, as Albertus and the 
Arabick scholiast." 

or the Hornet, likewise, these writers tell the following 
fabulous stories : " The Latins call the Hornets Crabrones, 
perchance from the village Crabra in the countrey of Tus- 
culura (where there are great store of them), or from the 
word Caballus, i.e. a horse, who is said to be their father. 
According to that of Ovid, Met. 15 : 

The warlike horse if buried under ground, 
Shortly a brood of Hornets will be found. 

Albertus calls it a yellow Bee. Cardanus will needs have 
them to arise from the dead mule. Plutarch, in the life of 
Cleomedes, saith they come out of horse flesh, as the Bees 
do out of the oxe his paunch, Virgil saith they are pro- 
duced of the asse. ... I conceive that those are produced 
of the harder flesh of the horse, and the Wasps of the more 
tender flesh. "^ 

The Hornet (but whether or not it was the common 
species, Vespa crabro, Linn., is uncertain), we learn from 
Scriptures was employed by Providence to drive out the 
impious inhabitants of Canaan, and subdue them under the 
hand of the Lsraelites. — "And I sent the Hornet before you, 
which drave them out before you, even the two kings of the 

In the second volume of Lieutenant Holman's Travels, 

1 Thea(r. Ins., p. 40-50. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 921-7. Vide 
'Pierius' Ilieroffhjph., p. 267-8; Pernicies summota; Pugnacitas ; 
Imperfecti mores civiles ; Perturbator. 

2 Josh. xxiv. 12 ; Deut. vii. 20. 


the following anecdote is related : "Eight miles from Gran- 
die , the muleteers suddenly called out ' Marambundas ! 

Mararabundas !' which indicated the approach of Wasps. 
In a moment all the animals, whether loaded or otherwise, 
lay down on their backs, kicli:ing most violently ; while the 
blacks, and all persons not already attacked, ran away in 
different directions, all being careful, by a wide sweep, to 
avoid the swarms of tormentors that came forward like a 
cloud. I never witnessed a panic so sudden and complete, 
and really believe that the bursting of a water-spout could 
hardly have produced more commotion. However, it must 
be confessed that the alarm was not without good reason, 
for so severe is the torture inflicted by these pigmy assail- 
ants, that the bravest travelers are not ashamed to fly, the 
instant they perceive the host approaching, which is of com- 
mon occurrence on the Campos."^ 

Dr. Fairfax, in the Philosophical Transactions, mentions 
a lady, who had such a horror of Wasps, that during the 
season in which they abound in houses, she always confined 
herself to her apartment. "■^ 

Dr. James tells us: "The combs (of the Hornet) are 
recommended in a drench for that disorder in horses, which 
Yigetius, L. 2, c. 23, calls scrofula, meaning, I believe, what 
we call the strangles."'' 

Hornets'-nest is smoked under horses' noses for distemper, 
cold in the head, and such like diseases. It is also given to 
horses in their feed for thick-windedness. 

The nests of Hornets are gathered by the country people 
to clean spectacles. 

Topsel, in his History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, 
has the following prognostications of the weather from the 
appearances of Hornets : " They serve instead of good 
almanacks to countrey people, to foretel tempests and 
change of weather, as hail, rain, and snow : for if they flie 
about in greater numbers, and be oftner seen about any 
place, then usually they are wont, it is a sigue of heat and 
fair weather the next day. But if about twilight they are 
observed to enter often their nests, as though they would 
hide themselves, you must the next day expect rain, winde, 

1 Kirby's Bridgewater Treatise. — Saturday Mag., ix. 239. 

2 Phil. Trans., i. 201. 
» iMed. Diet. 


or some stormy, troublesome or boysterous season : where- 
upon Avienus hath these verses : 

So if the buzzing troups of Hornets hoarse to flie, 
* In spacious air 'bout Autumn's end you see, * 

When Virgil star the evening lamp espie, 
Then from the sea -some stormy tempest sure shall be."^ 

" In the year 190, before the birth of Christ," say Moufet 
and Topsel, " as Julius witnesseth, an infinite multitude of 
Wasps flew into the market at Capua, and sate in the tem- 
ple of Mars, they were with great diligence taken and burnt 
solemnly, yet they did foreshew the coming of the enemy 
and the burning of the city."^ 

The first Wasp seen in the season should always be killed. 
By so doing, you secure to yourself good luck and freedom 
from enemies throughout the year.^ This is an English 
superstition, and it prevails in parts of America. We have 
one, also, directly opposed to it, namely, that the first Wasp 
seen in the season should not be killed if you wish to secure 
to yourself good luck. Many of our people, too, will kill a 
Wasp at no time, for, if killed, they say, it will bring upon 
them bad luck. 

If a Wasp stings you, our superstitious think that your 
foes will get the advantage of you. 

If the first Wasp seen in the season be seen in your house, 
it is a sign that you will form an unpleasant acquaintance. 
If the first Bee seen in the season be seen in your house, it 
! is a sign you will form a pleasant and useful acquaintance. 
This arose doubtless from the apparent uselessness of the 
former, and worth of the latter insect. 

Wasps building in a house foretell the coming to want of 
the family occupying it. Likewise arose from the unthrifti- 
ness of this insect. 

If Hornets build high, the winter will be dry and mild ; 
if low, cold and stormy. This is firmly believed in Virginia ; 
and the idea seems to be, that if the nesi is built high it will 
be more exposed to the wind than if built low. 

That a person may not be stung by Wasps, Paxamus says : 

1 Hist, of Beasts, p. 660. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 49. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 657, 927. 

3 Notes and Queries, ii. 165. 


174 APIDiE — BEES. 

"Let the person be rubbed with the juice of wild-mallow, 
and he will not be stung. "^ 

The Creoles of Mauritius eat the larvae of Wasps, which 
they roast in the combs. In taking the nests, they drive off 
the Wasps by means of a burning rag fastened to the end of 
a stick. The combs are sold at the bazaar of Port Louis. ^ 

The following story, of the cunning of the fox in killing 
the Wasps to obtain their combs, is told by ^Elian : "The 
fox (a subtile creature) is said to prey upon the Wasp in 
this manner: he puts his tail into the Wasps' nest so long 
till it be all covered with Wasps, which he espying, pulls it 
out and beats them against the next stone or tree he meets 
withall till they be all dead, this being done again and again 
till all the Wasps be destroyed, he sets upon their combs 
and devours them.'" 

The Chinese Herbal contains a singular notion, prevalent 
also in India, concerning the generation of the Sphex, or 
solitary Wasp. AVhen the female lays her eggs in the 
clayey nidus she makes in houses, she incloses the dead 
body of a caterpillar in it for the subsistence of the worms 
when they are hatched. Those who observed her entomb- 
ing the caterpillar did not look for the eggs, and immediately 
concluded that the Sphex took the worm for the progeny, 
and say, that as she plastered up the hole of the nest, she 
hummed a constant song over it, saying, "Class icith me/ 
class wilh me!''' — and the transformation gradually took 
place, and was perfected in its silent grave by the next 
spring, when a winged Wasp emerged, to continue its pos- 
terity the coming autumn in the same mysterious way.* 

Apidae — Bees. 

Concerning the piety of Bees, we find the following 
legends : 

"A certaine simple woman having some stals of Bees which 

^ Owen's Geoponika, ii. 211. 

2 Backhouse's Mauritius, p. 32. 

3 Moufet, Theatr. Insect., p. 47. Topsel's Hist, of Four-footed 
Beasts and Serpents, p. 925, 655. 

* William's Middle Kingdom; or Chinese Empire, i. 274. 


APID^ — BEES. n5 

yeelded not vnto her hir desired profit, but did consume and 
die of the murraine ; made her mone to another woman more 
simple than hir selfe : who gave her councel to get a conse- 
crated host or round Godamighty and put it among them. 
According to whose advice she went to the priest to receive 
the host ; which when she had done, she kept it in hir mouth, 
and being come home againe she tooke it out and put it into 
one of hir hives. Wherevpon the murraine ceased, and the 
honey abounded. The woman therefore lifting vp the hive 
at the due time to take out the honie, sawe there (most 
strange to be scene) a chapel built by the Bees with an altar 
in it, the wals adorned by marvelous skil of architecture with 
windowes conveniently set in their places : also a dore and a 
steeple with bels. And the host being laid vpou the altar, 
the Bees making a sweet noise flew round about it."^ 

Mr. Hawker's legend is to this effect : A Cornish woman, 
one summer, finding her Bees refused to leave their "cloistered 
home" and had "ceased to play around the cottage flowers," 
concealed a portion of the Holy Eucharist which she ob- 
tained at church : 

She bore it to her distant home, 

iShe laid it by the hive 
To lure the wanderers forth to roam, 

That so her store might thrive; — 
'Twas a wild wish, a thought unblest, 
Some evil legend of the west. 

But lo! at morning-tide a sign 

For wondering eyes to trace. 
They found above that Bread, a shrine 

Rear'd by the harmless race! 
Tliey brought their walls from bud and flower, 
They built bright roof and beamy tower! 

Was it a dream? or did they hear 

Float from those golden cells 
A sound, as of a psaltery near, 

Or soft and silvery bells? 
A low sweet psalm, that grieved within 
In mournful memory of the sin! 2 

The following passage, from Howell's Parley of Beasts, 

1 Thom. Bozius de signis Eccles., B. 14, c. iii. Quot. by Butler, 
Fern. Monarchie, c. i. 48. 

2 Quot. in Notes and Queries, ix. 167. 

176 APID^ — BEES. 

furnishes a similar legend of the piety of Bees. Bee 
speaks : 

"Know, sir, that we have also a religion as well as you, and 
so exact a government among us here; our huramings you 
speak of are as so many hymns to the Great God of Nature ; 
and there is a miraculous example in Cse^arius Cislernieiisis, 
of some of the Holy Eucharist being let fall in a meadow by 
a priest, as he was returning from visiting a sick body; a 
swarm of Bees hard-by took It up, and in a solemn kind of 
procession carried It to their hive, and their erected an 
altar of the purest wax for it, where it was found in that 
form, and untouched.'" 

Butler, quoting Thomas Bozius, tells us the following: 

" Certaine theeves (thieves) having stolen the silver boxe 
wherein the wafer-Gods vse to lie, and finding one of them 
there being loath, belike, that he should lie abroad all night, 
did not cast him away, but laid him under a hive : whom the 
Bees acknowledging advanced to a high roome in the hive, 
and there insteade of his silver boxe made him another of 
the whitest wax : and when they had so done, in worshippe 
of him, and set howres they sang most sweetly beyond all 
measure about it : yea the owner of them took them at it at 
midnight with a light and al. Wherewith the bishop being 
made acquainted, came thither with many others: and lifting 
vp the hive he sawe there neere the top a most fine boxe, 
wherein the host was laid, and the quires of Bees singing 
about it, and keeping watch in the night, as monkes do in 
their cloisters. The bishop therefore taking the host, car- 
ried it with the greater honour into the church : whether 
many resorting were cured of innumerable diseases."^ 

Another legend, from the School of the Eucharist, is as 
follows : 

"A peasant swayed by a covetous mind, being communi- 
cated on Easter-Day, received the Host in his mouth, and 
afterwards laid it among his bees, believing that all the Bees 
of the neighborhood would come thither to work their wax 
and honey. This covetous, impious wretch was not wholly 
disappointed of his hopes; for all his neighbors' Bees came 
indeed to his hives, but not to make honey, but to render 
there the honours due to the Creator. The issue of their 

1 Parlpy of Beasts, p. 144. London, IGGO. 

2 Uozius, ubi suj)ra. Buller, ubi sicpra. 

APID^ — BEES. Itt 

arrival was that they melodiously sang: to Him song^of 
praise as they were able; after that they built a little church 
with their wax from the foundations to the roof, divided into 
three rooms, sustained by pillars, with their bases and cha})i- 
ters. They had there also an Altar, upon which they had 
laid the precious Body of our Lord, and flew round about 
it, continuing their musick. The peasant .... coming nigh 
that hive where he had put the H. Sacrament, the Bees is- 
sued out furiously by troops, and surrounding him on all 
sides, revenged the irreverence done to their Creator, and 
stung him so severely that they left him in a sad case. This 
punishment made this miserable wretch come to himself, who, 
acknowledging his error, went to find out the parish priest to 
confess his fault to him . . . . " etc.^ 

We quote also another from the School of the Eucharist: 

"A certain peasant of Auvergne, a province in France, 
perceiving that his Bees were likely to die, to prevent this 
misfortune, was advised, after he had received the com- 
munion, to reserve the Host, and to blow it into one of the 
hives. As he tried to do it, the Host fell on the ground. 
Behold now a wonder! On a sudden all the Bees came 
forth out of their hives, and ranging themselves in good or- 
der, lifted the Host from the ground, and carrying it in 
upon their wings, placed it among the combes. After this 
the man went out about his business, and at his return found 
that this advice had succeeded ill, for all his Bees were 
dead . . . ."'^ 

We will close this series of legends with one from the 
Lives of the Saints : 

"When a thief by night had stolen St. Medard's Bees, 
they, in their master's quarrel, leaving their hive, set upon 
the malefactor, and eagerly pursuing him which way soever 
he ran, would not cease stinging of him until they had made 
him (v/hether he would or no) to go back again to their 
master's house; and there, falling prostrate at his feet, sub- 
missly to cry him mercy for the crime committed. Which 
being done, so soon as the Saint extended unto him the 
hand of benediction, the Bees, like obedient servants, did 
forthwith stay from persecuting him, and evidently yielded 

1 Vicentius in Spec. Moral, B. 2, D. 21, p. 3. N. and Q., x. 499. 

2 Pet Cluniac, B. 1, c. i. N. and Q , x. 199. 


1Y8 APID^ — BEES. 

themselves to the ancient possession and custody of their 

By the Greeks, Bees were accounted an omen of future 
eloquence ;'^ the soothsayers of the Romans, however, deemed 
them always of evil augury.^ They afforded also to the 
Romans presages of public interest, "clustering, as they 
do, like a bunch of grapes, upon houses or temples; pres- 
ages, in fact, that are often accounted for by great events."* 
The instances of happy omens afforded by swarms of Bees 
are the following : 

''It is said of Pindar," we read In Pausanias' History of 
Greece, "that when he was a young man, as he was going 
to Thespia, being wearied with the heat, as it was noon, and 
in the height of summer, he fell asleep at a small distance 
from the public road; and that Bees, as he was asleep, flew 
to him and wrought their honey on his lips. This circum- 
stance first induced Pindar to compose verses."^ 

A similar incident is mentioned in the life of Plato : 
" Whilst Plaio was yet an infant carried in the arms of 
his mother Ferictione, Aristo his father went to Hymettus 
(a mountain in Attica eminent for abundance of Bees and 
Honey) to sacrifice to the Muses or Nymphs, taking his 
Wife and Child along with him; as they were busied in the 
Divine Rites, she laid the Child in a Thicket of Myrtles hard 
by; to whom, as he slept {in cunis dormienti) came a 
Swarm of Bees, Artists of Hymettian Honey, flying and 
buzzing about him, and (as it is reported) made a Honey- 
comb in his mouth. This was taken for a presage of the 
singular sweetness of his discourse; his future Eloquence 
foreseen in his infancy."^ 

From Butler's Lives of the Saints we have the following : 

"The birth of St. Ambrose happened about the year 340 

B c, and whilst the child lay asleep in one of the courts of 

1 Qiiot. in Xotes and Queries, x. 499. 

2 Harwood, Grec. Antiq., p. 200. 

3 Pliny, Nat. Hist., is. 18 * Ibid. 

5 Pans. m.<!t. of Greece, B. ix c. xxiii. 3. 

6 Stanley's Hist, of F/ulos., Pt. V. c. ii. p. 157, Lond. 1701. Cf. 
Pliny, Nat. Hist., xi. 18. 

Vide Pierius, Hierogh/ph., p. 261-5. Populus regi suo obseques; 
Rex; Kegnum ; Grata oloquentia ; Pocticse aincenitas; Futuri seculi 
beatitude; Dulcium appetitus; Diutin-ntie valetudiiiis i)r<)sperita8 ; 
Slerctrix ; Exoticre discipliuie ; Prophetuvum oracula, etc. 


his father's palace, a swarm of Bees flew about his cradle, 
and some of them even crept in and out at his mouth, which 
was open ; and at last mounted up into the air so high, that 
they quite vanished out of sight. This," concludes the 
Reverend Alban, "was esteemed a presage of future great- 
ness and eloquence."^ 

Another instance is mentioned in the Feminine Monar- 
chic, printed at Oxford in 1634, p. 22. 

"When Ludovicus Vives was sent by Cardinal Wolsey 
to Oxford, there to be a public professor of Rhetoric, being 
placed in the College of Bees, he was welcomed thither by a 
swarm of Bees; which sweet creatures, to signifie the incom- 
parable sweetnesse of his eloquence, settled themselves over 
his head, under the leads of his study, where they have con- 
tinued to this day How sweetly did all things then 

accord, when in this neat !J.(>u(Tai(>v newly consecrated to the 
Muses, the Muses' sweetest favorite was thus honoured by 
the Muses' birds. "^ 

Moufet, in his Theater of Insects, and Topsel, in almost 
the same words in his History of Four-footed Beasts and 
Serpents, gives the following list of remarkable omens 
drawn from Bees: 

" Whereas the most high God did create all other crea- 
tures for our use; so especially the Bees, not only that as 
mistresses they might hold forth to us a patern of politick 
and ceconomic virtues, and inform our understanding ; but 
that they might be able as extraordinary foretellers, to fore- 
shew the success and event of things to come ; for in the 
years 90, 98, 113, 208, before the birth of Christ, when as 
miglity huge swarms of Bees did settle in the chief market- 
place, and in the beast-market upon private citizens' houses, 
and on the temple of Mars, there were at that time strata- 
gems of enemies against Rome, wherewith the whole state 
was like to be surprised and destroyed. In the reign of 
Severus, the Bees njade combes in his military ensigns, and 
especially in the camp of Niger. Divers wars upon this 
ensued between both the parties of Severus and Niger, and 
battels of doubtful event, while at length the Severian fac- 
tion prevailed. The statues also of Antonius Pius placed 

1 Lives of the Saints, xii. 106. 

2 Quot. in N. and Q., x, 500. This story is not in tlie Fern. Jlvn- 
archie of 1609, printed for Jos. Barnes. 

180 APID^ BEES. 

here and there all over Hetrnria, were all covered with 
swarms of Bees; and after that settled in the camp of 
Cassius; what great commotions after followed Julius 
Capitolinus relates in his history. At what time also, 
through the treachery of the Germans in Germany, there 
was a mighty slaughter and overthrow of the Romans. P. 
Fabius, and Q. Elius being consuls in the camp of Drusus 
in the tent of Hostilius llutilus, a swarm of Bees is re- 
ported to have sate so thick, that they covered the rope and 
the spear that held up the tent. M. Lepidus, and Munat. 
Plancus being consuls, as also in the consulship of L. Paulus, 
and C. Metellus, swarms of Bees flying to Rome (as the 
augurs very well conjectured) did foretell the near approach 
of the enemy. Pompey likewise making war against Ca?sar, 
when he had called his allies together, he set his army in 
order as he went out of Dyrrachium, Bees met him and sate 
so thick upon his ensigns that they could not be seen what 
they were. Philistus and ^Elian relate, that while Diony- 
sius the tyrant did in vain spur his horse that stuck in the 
mire, and there at length left him, the horse quitting himself 
by his own strength, did follow after his master the same 
way he went with a swarm of Bees- sticking on his mane ; 
intimating by that prodigy that tyrannical government which 
Dionysius affected over the Galeotae. In the Helvetian 
History we read, that in the year 1385, when Leopoldus of 
Austria began to march towards Sempachum with his array, 
a swarm of Bees flew to the town and there sate upon the 
tyles; whereby the common people rightly foretold that 
some forain force was marching towards them. So Yirgil, 
in 7 ^neid: 

The Bees flew buzzing throvigli the liquid air: 
And laitcht upon the top o' th' laurel tree ; 

When the Soothsayers saw this sight full rare, 
They did foretell th' approach of th' eneniie. 

That which Herodotus, Pausanias, Dio Cassius, Plutarch, 
Julius Ceesar, Julius Capitolinus, and other historians with 
greater observation then reason have confirmed. Saon 
Acrephniensis, when he could by no means finde the oracle 
Trophonius; Pausanias in his Boeticks saith he was lead 
thither by a swarm of Bees. Moreover, Plutarch, Pausa- 
nias, yElian, Alex. Alexandrinus, Theocritus and Textor are 
authors that Jupiter Melitasus, Hiero of Syracuse, Plato, 

APID^ — BEES. 181 

Pindar, Apius Coraatus, Xenophon, and last of all Ambrose, 
when their nurses were absent, had honey dropt into their 
mouths by Bees, and so were preserved."^ 

In East Norfolk, England, if Bees swarm on rotten wood, 
it is considered portentous of a death in the family.^ This 
superstition is as old at least as the time of Gay, for, among 
the signs that foreshadowed the death of Blonzelind, it is 
mentioned : 

Swarmed on a rotten stick the Bees I spy'd 
Which erst 1 saw when Goody Dobson dy'd.3 

In Ireland, the mere swarming of Bees is looked upon as 
prognosticating a death in the family of the owner. 

In parts of England it is believed, that if a swarm of 
Bees come to a house, and are not claimed by their owner, 
there will be a death in the family that hives them.* 

It is a very ancient superstition that Bees, by their acute 
sense of smell, quickly detect an unchaste woman, and strive 
to make her infamy known by stinging her immediately. In 
a pastoral of Theocritus, the shepherd in a pleasant mood 
tells Venus to go away to Anchises to be v/ell stung by Bees 
for her lewd behavior. 

Now go thy way to Ida mount — 

Go to Anchises now, 
Where mighty oaks, where banks along 

Of square Cy pirns grow, 
Where hives and hollow trunks of trees, 

With honey sweet abound, 
Where all the place with humming noise 

Of busie Bees resound. 

Incontinence in men, as well as unchastity in women, was 
thought to be punished by these little insects. Thus in the 
lines of Pindarus : 

Thou painful Bee, thou pretty creature, 

Who honey-combs six angled, as the be, 

W^ith feet doest frame, false Phoecus and impure, 

With sting has prickt for his lewd villany.^ 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 21-2. Topsel's Ilist. of Beasts and Serpents, p. 
645, 905. 

2 N. and Q., vi. 480. 

3 Gay's Pastorals, v. 107-8. 

4 Chambers' Book of Days, i. 752. 

5 Plutarch, Nat. Quest., 30. HolL Trans., p. 831. 

182 APIDiE— BEES. 

Pliny says : " Certain it is, that if a menstrnous woman do 
no more but touch a Bee-hive, all the Bees will be gone and 
never more come to it again. "^ 

In Western Pennsylvania, it is believed that Bees will in- 
variably sting red-haired persons as soon as they approach 
the hives. 

It is a common opinion that Bees in rough and boisterous 
weather, and particularly in a violent storm, carry a stone 
in their legs, in order to preserve themselves by its weight 
against the power of the wind. Its antiquity is also great, 
for in the writings of Plutarch we find an instance of this 
remarkable wisdom. " The Bees of Candi," says this philos- 
opher, "being about to double a point or cape lying into 
the sea, which is much exposed to the winds, they ballase 
(ballast) themselves with small grit or petty stones, for to 
be able to endure the weather, and not be carried away 
against their wills with the winds through their lightness 

Yirgil, too, about a century earlier, mentions this curious 
notion in the following lines: 

And as when empty barks on billows float, 

With sandy ballast sailors trim the boat; 

So Bees bear gravel stones, whose poising weight 

Steers through the whistling winds their steady flight. ^ 

Swammerdam, who has noticed this belief of the ancients, 
makes the following remarks : " But this, as Clutius justly 
observes, has not been hitherto remarked by any Bee-keeper, 
nor indeed have I myself ever seen it. Yet I should think 
that there may be some truth in this matter, and probably 
a certain observation, which I shall presently mention, has 
given rise to the story. There is a species of wild Bees not 
unlike the smallest kind of the Humble-Bee, which, as they 
are accustomed to build their nests near stone walls, and 
construct their habitations of stone and clay, sometitues carry 
such large stones that it is scarcely credible by what means 
so tender insects can sustain so great a load, and that even 
flying while they are obliged also to support their own body. 

1 Nat. ITiH., xxviii 7. IIoll. Trans., p. 308. 

2 Plutarch, Land and Water Creatures Comjyared. Holl. Trans., p. 7- 

3 Georg. iv. 283-7. Dryden's Trans. 

APID^— BEES. 183 

Their nest by this means is often so heavy as to weigh one 
or two pounds."^ 

It was the general opinion of antiquity that Bees were 
produced from the putrid bodies of cattle. Yarro says they 
are called ]u)oy6yat by the Greeks, because they arise from 
petrified bullocks. In another place he mentions their 
rising from these putrid animals, and quotes the authority 
of Archelaus, who says Bees proceed from bullocks, and 
wasps from horses.^ Virgil, however, is much more satis- 
factory, for he gives us the recipe in all its details for pro- 
ducing these insects : 

First, in a place, by nature close, they build 

A narrow flooring, gutter'd, wall'd, and til'd. 

In this, four windows are contriv'd, that strike 

To the four winds oppos'd, their beams oblique, 

A steer of two years old they take, whose head 

Now first with burnished horns begins to spread: 

They stop his nostrils, while he strives in vain 

To breathe free air, and struggles with his pain. 

Knock'd down, he dies : his bowels bruis'd within, 

Beti'ay no wound on his unbroken skin. 

Extended thus, in his obscene abode, 

They leave the beast; but first sweet flowers are strow'd 

Beneath his body, broken boughs and thyme, 

And pleasing Cassia, just renew'd in prime. 

Tills must be done, ere spring makes equal day, 

When western winds on curling waters play; 

Ere painted meads produce their flowery crops, 

Or swallows twitier on the chimney tops. 

The tainted blood, in this close prison pent. 

Begins to boil, and thro' the bones ferment. 

Then wond'rous to behold, new creatures rise, 

A moving mass at first, and short of thighs; 

Till shooting out with legs, and imp'd with wings, 

The grubs proceed to Bees with pointed stings: 

And more and more aft'ecting air, they try 

Their tender pinions and begin to fiy.^ 

This absurd notion was also promulgated by the great 
English chronicler, Hollingshed ; for, says this author, 
** Hornets, waspes, Bees, and such like, whereof we have 

1 Swam. Hist, of Ins., Pt. I. p. 226. 

2 Martin's Georg. of Virgil, iv. 295, note. 

3 Dryden's Virgil, Georg. iv. 417-4i2. Democritus, said to have 
been contemporary with Socrates and Hippocrates, the learned Varro, 
Columella, and Plorentinus, have severally given this same receipt. 
Vide Owen's Geoponika^ ii. 199. 

184 APID^ — BEES. 

great store, and of which an opinion is conceived, that the 
first doo breed of the corruption of dead horses, the second 
of pears and apples corrupted, and the last of kine and 
oxen; which may be true, especiallie the first and latter in 
some parts of the beast, and not their whole substances, as 
also in the second, sith we never have waspes but when our 
fruit beginneth to wax ripe."^ 

To conclude the history of this belief, the following re- 
marks of the learned Swammerdara will not be inappropri- 
ate. He says: "It is probable that the not rightly under- 
standing Samson's adventure of the Lion, gave rise to the 
popular opinion of Bees springing from dead Lions, Oxen, 
and Horses; and this opinion may have been considerably 
strengthened, and indeed in a manner confirmed, by the 
great number of Worms that are often found during the 
summer months in the carcasses of such animals, especially 
as these Worms somewhat resemble those produced from 
the eggs of Bees. However ridiculous this opinion must 
appear, many great men have not been ashamed to adopt 
and defend it. The industrious Goedaert has ventured to 
ascribe the origin of Bees to certain dunghill Worms, and 
the learned de Mei joins with him in this opinion ; though 
neither of them had any observation to ground their belief 
upon, but that of the external resemblance between the Bee 
and a certain kind of Fly produced from these Worms." ^ 

The opinion that stolen Bees will not thrive, but pine away 
and die, is almost universal.^ It is, too, of reverend anti- 
quity, for Pliny mentions it : " It is a common received 
opinion, that Rue will grow the better if it be filched out of 
another man's garden ; and it is as ordinarie a saying that 
stolen Bees will thrive worst."* 

In South Northamptonshire, England, there is a super- 
stition that Bees will not thrive in a quarrelsome family.^ 
It might be well to promulgate this and the next preceding 
superstition. This prevails among us. 

In Hampshire, England, it is a common saying that Bees 
are idle or unfortunate at their work whenever there are 

1 Hollings. Chron., i. 384. 

2 Swam. Hist, of Ins., Pt. I. p. 228. 

3 N. and Q., ii. 356. 

* Nat. Hist., xix. 7. Holl. Trans., p. 23. E. 

5 N. and Q., ii. 165. Chamb. Bk. of Days, i. 752. 

APIDiE — BEES. 185 

wars. A very curious observer and fancier says that this 
has been the case from the time of the movements in France, 
Prussia, and Hungary, up to the present time.^ 

In Bishopsbourne, England, there prevails the singular 
superstition of informing the Bees of any great public event 
that takes place, else they will not thrive so well.^ 

In Monmouthshire, England, the peasantry entertain so 
great a veneration for their Bees, that, says Bucke, some 
years since, they were accustomed to go to their hives on 
Christmas eve at twelve o'clock, in order to listen to their 
humming; which elicited, as they believed, a much more 
agreeable music than at any other period ; since, at that 
time, they celebrated, in the best manner they could, the 
morning of Christ's nativity.^ 

Sampson, in his Statistical Survey of the County of Lon- 
donderry, 1802, p. 436, says that there "Bees must not be 
given away, but sold; otherwise neither the giver nor the 
taker will have Zwc^."* 

A clergyman in Devonshire, England, informs us that 
when any Devonian makes a purchase of Bees, the payment 
is never made in money, but in things (corn, for instance) 
to the value of the sum agreed upon ; and the Bees are 
never removed but on a Grood Friday.^ In western Penn- 
sylvania, it is thought by some of the old farmers that the 
vender of the Bees must be away from home when the hive 
is taken away, else the Bees will not thrive. 

Another superstition is that if a swarm of Bees be met 
with in an open field away from any house, it is useless to 
hive them, for they will never do a bit of good. 

In many parts of England, a popular opinion is that 
when Bees remove or go away from their hives, the owner 
of them will die soon after.^ 

It is commonly believed among us that if Bees come to a 
house, it forebodes good luck and prosperity; and, on the 
contrary, if they go away, bad luck. 

A North German custom and superstition is, that if the 
master of the house dies, a person must go to the Beehive, 

^ N'.^Q., xii. 200. 

2 Mag. of Nat. Hist., ii. 405. 

5 Bucke on Nature, i. 419. 

* Brand's Pop. Antiq., ii. 300, 

5 Ibid. 6 TUd. 


186 APTD^ — BEES. 

knock, and repeat these words: "The master is dead, the 
master is dead," else the Bees will fly away.^ This super- 
stition prevails also in England, Lithuania, and in France.^ 

[Some years since, observes a correspondent of the Athe- 
naeum, quoted by Brande, a gentleman at a dinner table 
happened to mention that he was surprised, on the death of 
a relative, by his servant inquiring " whether his master 
would inform the Bees of the event, or whether he should 
do so." On asking the meaning of so strange a question, 
the servant assured him that Bees ought always to be in- 
formed of a death in a family, or they would resent the 
neglect by deserting the hive. This gentleman resides in 
the Isle of Ely, and the anecdote was told in Suffolk ; and 
one of the party present, a few days afterward, took the 
opportunity of testing the prevalence of this strange notion 
by inquiring of a cottager who had lately lost a relative, 
and happened to complain of the loss of her Bees, " whether 
she had told them all she ought to do V She immediately 
replied, " Oh, yes ; when my aunt died I told every skep 
{i.e. hive) myself, and put them 

"Into mourning." I have since ascertained the existence 
of the same superstition in Cornwall, Devonshire (where I 
have seen black crape put round the hive, or on a small 
black stick by its side), and Yorkshire. It probably ex- 
ists in every part of the kingdom The mode of 

communicating is by whispering the fact to each hive sepa- 
rately In Oxford I was told that if a man and wife 

quarreled, the Bees would leave them.] ^ 

"In some parte of Suffolk," says Bucke, "the peasants 
believe, when any member of their family dies, that, unless 
the Bees are put in mourning by placing a piece of black 
cloth, cotton or silk, on the top of the hives, the Bees will 
either die or fly away. 

"In Lithuania, when the master or mistress dies, one of 
the first duties performed is that of giving notice to the 
Bees, by rattling the keys of the house at the doors of their 
hives. Unless this be done, the Lithuanians imagine the 

1 Thorpe's North. MijthoL, iii. 161, 

2 Vide N. and Q. in Devon, v. 148; Essex, v. 437; Lincolnshire 
iv. 270; Surrey, iv. 291; a Cornish supersdtion, too, xii. 38; 

Buckinghamshire, Sussex, Lithuania, and France, iv. 308. 
3 Brande's Fop. Antiq., ii. 300. 


APID^ — BEES. 18t 

cattle will die; the Bees themselves perish, and the trees 

At Bradfield, if Bees are not invited to funerals, it is be- 
lieved they will die.^ 

In the Livinf^ Librarie, Englished by John Molle, 1621, 
p. 2S3, we read: "Who would beleeve without superstition 
(if experience did not make it credible ), that most commonly 
all the Bees die in their hives, if the master or mistress of 
the house chance to die, except the hives be presently re- 
moved into some other place? And yet I know this hath 
hapned to folke no way stained with superstition "^ 

A similar superstition is, that Beehives belonging to de- 
ceased persons should be turned over the moment when the 
corpse is taken out of the house.* No consequence is given 
for the non-performance of this rite. 

The following item is clipped from the Argus, a London 
newspaper, printed Sept. 13, 1790: "A superstitious custom 
prevails at every funeral in Devonshire, of turning round the 
Bee-hives that belonged to the.peceased, if he had any, and 
that at the moment the corpse is carrying out of the house. 
At a funeral some time since, at Colurapton, of a rich old 
farmer, a laughable circumstance of this sort occurred: for, 
just as the corpse was placed in the hearse, and the horse- 
men, to a large number, were drawn in order for the proces- 
sion of the funeral, a person called out, 'Turn the Bees,' 
when a servant who had no knowledge of such a custom, 
instead of turning the hives about, lifted them up, and then 
laid them down on their sides. The Bees, thus hastily in- 
vaded, instantly attacked and fastened on the horses and 
their riders. It was in vain they galloped off, the Bees as 
precipitately followed, and left their stings as marks of in- 
dignation. A general confusion took place, attended with 
loss of hats, wigs, etc., and the corpse during the conflict 
was left unattended ; nor was it till after a considerable 
time that the funeral attendants could be rallied, in order to 
proceed to the interment of their deceased friend."^ 

After the death of a member of a family, it has fre- 

1 Bucke on Nature, i. 413, note. 

2 N. and Q., iv. 309. 

3 Brand's Pop, Antiq., ii. 300. 

* Fosbr. Encycl. of Antiq., ii. 738. 
5 Brand's Pojp. Antiq., ii. 300. 

188 APIDiE — BEES, 

quently been asserted that the Bees sometimes take their 
loss so much to heart as to alight upon the coffin whenever 
it is exposed. A clergyman told Langstroth, that he at- 
tended a funeral, where, as soon as the coffin was brought 
from the house, the Bees gathered upon it so as to excite 
much alarm. Some years after this occurrence, being en- 
gaged in varnishing a table, the Bees alighted upon it in 
such numbers as to convince the reverend gentleman that 
love of varnish, rather than sorrow or respect for the dead, 
was the occasion of their conduct at the funeral.^ 

The following is an extract from a Tour through Brit- 
tany, published in the Cambrian Quarterly Magazine, vol. ii. 
p. 215 : "If there are Bees kept at the house where a mar- 
riage feast is celebrated, care is always taken to dress up 
their hives in red, which is done by placing upon them 
pieces of scarlet cloth, or one of some such bright color; 
the Bretons imagining that the Bees would forsake their 
dwellings if they were not made to participate in the re- 
joicings of their owners: irf like manner they are all put 
into mourning when a death occurs in a family."^ 

In the Magazine of Natural History we find the following 
instance of singing psalms to Bees to make them thrive : 
''When in Bedfordshire lately, we were informed of an old 
man who sang a psalm last year in front of some hives 
which were not doing well, but which, he said, would thrive 
in consequence of that ceremony. Our informant could not 
state whether this was a local or individual superstition."^ 

It is commonly said that if you sing to your Bees before 
they swarm, it will prevent their leaving your premises 
when thfy do swarm. 

Peter Rotharrael, a western Pennsylvanian, had a singu- 
lar notion that no man could have at one time a hundred 
hives of Bees. He declared he had often as many as ninety- 
nine, but could never add another to them.* I have since 

1 Langstroth on Honey-Bee, p. 80. 

2 Mag. of Nat. Hist., iii. 211, note. 

3 Ibid., i. 308. London, 1829. 

* Peter Rotharmel had three specialties: Bees, Wheat, and Bona- 
parte. Concerning Bees, he had many strange notions, but the 
above recorded is the only one of which I have any positive in- 
formation. Concerning wheat, at one time in his life he purchased 
an almanac, which indicated, among other things, the high and low 
tides, and, from studying this, lie got it into his head that the tiuctua- 

APID^ — BEES 189 

learned that this is not an individual superstition, but one 
that pretty generally prevails. 

The Apiarians of Bedfordshire, England, have a custom 
of, as they call it, ringing their swarms with the door-key and 
the frying-pan ; and if a swarm settles on another's premises, 
it is irrecoverable by the owner, unless he can prove the 
ringing, but it becomes the property of that person upon 
whose premises it settles.^ 

The practice of beating pans, and making a great noise 
to induce a swarm of Bees to settle, is, at least, as old as 
the time of Yirgil. He thus mentions it : 

But when thou seest a swarming cloud arise, 

That sweeps aloft, and darkens all the skies: 

The motions of their hasty flight attend; 

And know to floods, or woods, their airy march they bend. 

Then melfoil beat, and honey-suckles pound, 

"With these alluring savors strew the ground, 

And mix with tinkling brass the cymbal's drowning sound. ^ 

But concerning this practice, Langstroth says : " It is prob- 
ably not a whit more efficacious than the hideous noises of 
some savage tribes, who, imagining that the sun, in an 
eclipse, has been swallowed by an enormous dragon, resort 
to such means to compel his snakeship to disgorge their 
favorite luminary."^ 

Dr. Toner, the author of that very interesting little work, 
"Maternal Instinct or Love," informs me that when a boy 
he witnessed a mode of alluring a swarm of Bees to settle, 
performed by a German man and his wife, which struck him 
at the time as being remarkable, and which was as follows : 
Having first put some pig-manure upon the hive into which 

tions in the price of wheat were intimately connected with the rise 
and fall of the tides. So impressed was he with this idea, that he 
ever afterward yearly bought that particuhir almanac, and prophe- 
sied from it to his neighbors the prpbable value of their coming 
crops of wheat. On Sunday, he Wuld walk fifteen and twenty 
miles through the country, to examine the dift'erent wheat-fields, 
and to aff'ord him a topic jjf conversation for the ensuing week. 
But Napoleon was his principal study and his greatest mania. On 
him he would talk for hours, on the slightest provocation The 
history of Bonaparte and his campaigns, which he only read, was 
an old German one. 

1 Mag. of Nat. Hist., ii. 209. 

2 Geog., Dryden's Trans., iv. 82-9. 

3 On the Honey-Bee, p. 113. 


190 APID.^ BEES. 

they wished the Bees to go, they ran to and fro under the 
swarm, singing a monotonous German hymn; and this they 
continued till the Bees were settled and hived. 

Another strange mode of alluring Bees into a new hive is 
practiced near Gloucester, England, but only when all the 
usual ways of preparing hives fail ; it is this : When a swarm 
is to be hived, instead of moistening the inside of the hive 
with honey, or sugar and water, the Bee-master throws into 
it, inverted, about a pint of beans, which he causes a sow to 
devour, and immediately then, it is said, will the Bees take 
to it.^ 

Pliny, as follows, incidentally mentions another curious 
mode of preparing the hives to best suit the Bees : "Touch- 
ing Baulme, which the Greeks call Melittis or Melissophyl- 
lon : if Bee-hives be rubbed all over and besmeared with the 
juice thereof, the Bees will never go away; for there is 
not a flower whereof they be more desirous and faine than 
of it. "2 

Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 168, tells us of 
another strange practice in the hiving of Bees. He says : 
"The Cornish, to this day, invoke the spirit of Browny, 
when their Bees swarm ; and they think that their crying 
Browny, Browny, will prevent them from returning into 
the former hive, and make them pitch and form a new 

The Rev. Thomas P. Hunt, of Wyoming, Pa., has devised 
an amusing plan, by which he says he can, at all times, pre- 
vent a swarm of Bees from leaving his premises. Before his 
stocks swarm, he collects a number of dead Bees, and, string- 
ing them with a needle and thread, as worms are strung for 
catching eels, makes of them a ball about the size of an egg, 
leaving a few strands loose. By carrying — fastened to a 
pole — this "Bee-bob^^ about his Apiary, when the Bees are 
swarming, or by placing it in some central position, he in- 
variably secures every swarm.* 

The barbarous practice of killing Bees for their honey, 
not yet entirely abolished, did not exist in the time of Aris- 
totle, Yarro, Columella, and Pliny. The old cultivators 

1 X. and q., 2cl Ser., ix. 443. 

2 Nni. Hist., xxi. 20, Holl Trans., p. lOH. 

* Quot. in Brand's P^p. Antiq., iii. 225. 

* liDiigstrotii on the I[onei/-B''c.. p. 182. 


APID^ — BEES. 191 

took only what their Bees could spare, killing no stocks ex- 
cept such as were feeble or diseased. The following epitaph, 
taken from a German work, might well be placed over every 
pit of these brimstoned insects: 

Here Rests, 

cut off from useful labor, 

a colony of 






To the epitaph also may be appended Thomson's verses : 

Ah, see, where robbed and murdered in that pit. 
Lies the still heaving hive! at evening snatched. 
Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night, 
And fixed o'er sulphur! while, not dreanaing ill, 
The happy people, in their waxen cells, 
Sat tending public cares. 
Sudden, the dark, oppressive steam ascends, 
And, used to milder scents, the tender race, 
By thousands, tumble from their honied dome 
Into a gulf of blue sulphureous flame I^ 

It is considered very cruel in Africa, as Campbell ob- 
serves, to kill Bees in order to obtain their honey, especially 
as from flowers being there at all seasons, and most in winter, 
they can live comfortably all the year round. A Hottentot, 
who was accustomed to kill the Bees, was often reasoned 
with by the humane to give up so cruel a practice, yet he 
persisted in it till a circumstance occurred which determined 
him to relinquish it. He had a water-mill for grinding his 
corn, which went very slowly, from the smallness of the 
stream which turned it; consequently the flour dropped very 
gently. For some time much less than usual came into the 
sack, the cause of which he could not discover. At length 
he found that a great part of his flour, as it was ground, was 
carried off by the Bees to their hives : on examining this, he 

^ Quot. by Langstroth on the Honey-Bee, p. 281. 

192 APID^ — BEES. 

found it contained only his flonr, and no honey. This rob- 
bery made him resolve to destroy no more Bees when their 
honey was taken, considering their conduct in robbing him 
of his property as a just punishment to him for his cruelty. 
The gentleman who related this story, Mr. Campbell says, 
was a witness to the Bees robbing the mill.^ 

An old English proverb, relative to the swarming of 
Bees, is, — 

A swarm of Bees in May, 

Is worth a load of hay; 

A swarm of Bees in June, 

Is worth a silver spoon; 

A swarm of Bees in July, 

Is not worth a fly.^ 

In Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Husbandry, under 
the month of May, are these lines : 

Take heed to thy Bees, that are ready to swarme, 
The losse thereof now is a crown's worth of harme. 

On which is the following observation in Tusser Redivi- 
vus, 1744, p. 62 : " The tinkling after them with a warming- 
pan, frying-pan, kettle, is of good use to let the neighbors 
know you have a swarm in the air, which you claim wherever 
it lights; but I believe of very little purpose to the reclaim- 
ing of the Bees, who are thought to delight in no noise but 
their own." 

Ill fortune attends the killing of Bees, — a common say- 
ing. Tliis, doubtless, arose from the thrift and usefulness 
of these insects. 

That swarms of Bees, or fields, houses, stalls of cattle, or 
workshops, may not be affected by enchantment, Leontinus 
says: "Dig in the hoof of the right side of a sable ass un- 
der the threshold of the door, and pour on some liquid 
pitchy resin, salt, Heracleotic origanum, cardamonium, 
cumin, some fine bread, squills, a chaplet of white or of 
crimson wool, the chaste tree, vervain, sulphur, pitchy 
torches; and lay on some amaranthus every month, and lay 
on the mould ; and, having scattered seeds of different kinds, 
let them remain."^ - 

1 Campbell's Travels in S. Africa, p. 339. 

2 Percy Soc. Public, iv. 99. 

3 Owen's Geoponika, ii. 109-10. 


APID^E — BEES. 193 

To cure the stings of Bees, we have the following remedies : 
"Rue," says Pliny, "is an hearbe as medicinable as the best 
. . . and is available against the stings of Bees, Hornets, 
and Wasps, and against the poison of the Cantharides and 

"Yea, and it is an excellent thing for them that be stung, 
to take the very Bees in drinke ; for it is an approved 

"Baulme is a most present remedy not only against their 
stings, but also of Wespes, Spiders, and Scorpions.-^ 

"The Laurell, both leafe, barke, and berrie, is by nature 
hot; and applied as a liniment, be singular good for the 
pricke or sting of Wasps, Hornets, and Bees.* 

" For the sting of Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, the Howlat 
(owlet) is counted a soveraigne thing, by a certaine antipa- 
thic in nature.^ 

" Moreover, as many as have about them the bill of a 
Woodspeck (Woodpecker) when they come to take honey 
out of the hive, shall not be stung by Bees."^ 

It is said that if a man suffers himself to be stung by Bees, 
he will find that the poison will produce less and less effect 
upon his system, till, finally, like Mithridates of old, he will 
appear to almost thrive upon poison itself. When Lang- 
stroth first became interested in Bees, according to his state- 
ment, a sting was quite a formidable thing, the pain being 
often intense, and the wound swelling so as sometimes to 
obstruct his sight. But, at length, however, the pain was 
usually slight, and, if the sting was quickly extracted, no 
unpleasant consequences ensued, even if no remedies were 
used. Huish speaks of seeing the bald head of Bonner, a 
celebrated practical Apiarian, covered with stings, which 
seemed to produce upon him no unpleasant effects. The 
Rev. Mr. Kleine advises beginners to suffer themselves to be 
stung frequently, assuring them that, in two seasons, their 
systems will become accustomed to the poison. An old 
English Apiarian advises a person who has been stung, to 

1 Kat. Hist., XX. 13. HolL, p. 5fi. M. 

2 Jbid., Holl., p. 95. A. 

3 Ibid., xxi. 20. HolL, p. 106. K. 

4 Ihid., xxiii. 18. Holl., p. 173. A. 

5 Ibid., xxix. 4. HolL, p. 361. D. 
e Ibid., XXX. 16. HolL, p. 399. F. 

194 APID^ — BEES. 

catch as speedily as possible another Bee, and make it sting 
on the same spot.- 

It is generally believed among our boys that if the part 
stung by a Bee be rubbed with the leaves of three different 
plants at the same time, the pain will be relieved. 

Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 134, says: "Bees, 
in fair weather, not wandering far from their hives, presage 
the approach of some stormy weather. . . . Wasps, Hornets, 
and Gnats, biting more eagerly than they used to do, is a 
sign of rainy weather.'" 

The prognostication drawn from a flight of Bees, in which 
there is doubtless much truth, appears from the following 
lines to have been known to Virgil : 

Nor dare they stay, 
When rain is promised, or a stormy day : 
But near the city walls their watering take. 
Nor forage far, but short excursions make.^ 

Bees were employed as the symbol of Epeses; they are 
common also on coins of Elyrus, Julis, and Prassus.'^ 

One of the most remarkable facts in the history of Bees 
is that passage in the Bible^ about the swarm of these in- 
sects and honey in the carcass of the lion slain by Samson* 
Some look upon it as a paradox, others as altogether in- 
credible ; but it admits of easy explanation. The lion had 
been dead some little time before the Bees had taken up 
their abode in the carcass, for it is expressly stated that 
"after a time," Samson returned and saw the Bees and 
honey in the carcass, so that "if," as Oedman has well ob- 
served, "any one here represents to himself a corrupt and 
putrid carcass, the occurrence ceases to have any true simili- 
tude, for it is well known in these countries, at certain sea- 
sons of the year, the heat will in twenty-four hours so com- 
pletely dry up the moistnre of dead animals, and that with- 
out their undergoing decomposition, that their bodies long 
remain, like mummies, unaltered, and entirely free from 
offensive odor." To the foregoing quotation we may add 
that very probably the larvae of flies, ants, and other insects, 

1 Langstroth on the IIoney-Bee, p. 316, note. 

2 Brand's Pop. An tig., iii. 225. 

^ Georg., iv. 280-4; Dry den's Trans. 
* Fosb. Encycl. of Antiq., ii. 738. 
5 Judg. xiv. 8. 

APID.^ — BEES. 195 

which at the time when Bees swarm, are to be found in 
great numbers, would help to consume the carcass, and 
leave perhaps in a short time little else than a skeleton.^ 
* An instance of Bees tenanting a dead body is found in 
the following passage from the writings of Herodotus: 
" Now the Amathusians, having cut off the head of Onesilus, 
because he had besieged them, took it to Amatheus, and 
suspended it over the gates ; and when the head was sus- 
pended, and had become hollow, a swarm of Bees entered 
it, and filled it with honey-comb. When this happened, the 
Amathusians consulted the oracle respecting it, and an 
answer was given them, 'that they should take down the 
head and bury it, and sacrifice annually to Onesilus, as to a 
hero ; and if they did so, it would turn out better for them.' 
The Amathusians did accordingly, and continued to do so 
until my time.'" 

Another singular instance is mentioned by Napier in his 
Excursions on the shores of the Mediterranean : ''Among 
this pretty collection of natural curiosities (in the cemetery 
of Algesiras), one in particular attracted our attention ; 
this was the contents of a small uncovered coffin in which 
lay a child, the cavity of the chest exposed and tenanted by 
an industrious colony of Bees. The comb was rapidly pro- 
gressing, and I suppose, according to the adage of the poet, 
they were adding sweets to the sweet, if not perfume to the 

Butler, in his Feminine Monarchic, narrates the following 
curious story : "Pauhis Jomus, affirmeth that in Muscoma, 
there are found in the woods & wildernesses great lakes of 
honey, which the Bees have forsaken, in the hollow truncks 
of marvelous huge trees. In so much that houy & wa'xe 
are the most certaine commodities of that countrie. Where, 
by that occasion, he setteth down the storie reported by 
Demetrius a Muscovite ambassador sent to Rome. A 
neighbor of mine (saith he) searching in the woods for hony 
slipt downe into a great hollow tree, and there sunk into a 
lake of hony vp to his brest : where when he had stucke 
faste two dales calling and crying out in vaine for helpe, be- 

1 Cf. Swammerdam, Hist, of Ins., Pt. I. p. 227, and Smith's Diet, 
of the Bible. 

2 Herod., v. 114-5. 

3 Excursions, i. 127. 

196 APID.^ — BEES. 

cause no bodie in the raeane while came nigh that solitarie 
place ; at length when he was out of all hope of life, hee 
was strangely delivered by the means of a great beare : 
which coming thither about the same businesse that he di^, 
and smelling the hony stirred with his striving, clambered 
vp to the top of the tree, & thence began to let hiraselfe 
downe backward into it. The man bethinking himself, and 
knowing the worst was but death, which in that place he 
was sure of, beclipt the beare fast with both his hands aboit 
the loines, and withall made an outcry as lowd as he could. 
The beare being thus sodainely affrighted, what with the 
handling, & what with the noise, made vp againe withal 
speed possible : the man held, & the beare pulled, vntil with 
main force he had drawne Dun out of the mire: & then 
being let go, away he trots more afeard than hurt, leaving 
the smeered swaine in a joyful feare."^ 

By the Chinese writers, the composition of the characters 
for the Bee, Ant, and Mosquito, respectively, denote the 
awl insect, the righteous insect, and the lettered insect; 
referring thereby to the sting of the first, the orderly march- 
ing and subordination of the second, and the letter-like 
markings on the wings of the last,^ 

In May, 1653, the remains of Childeric, King of the 
Franks, who died a.d. 481, and was buried at Tournay, 
were discovered; and among the medals, coins, and books, 
which were found in his tomb, were also found above three 
hundred figures of, as Chiflet says. Bees, all of gold. Some 
of these figures were toads, crescents, lilies, spear-heads, and 
such like, but Chiflet, after much labor and research, was 
fully convinced they were Bees; and, more than that, de- 
termines them to be the source whence the Fleur de lis in 
the Arms of France were afterward derived. Montfaucon, 
however, did not hesitate to say they were nothing more 
than ornaments of the horse-furniture.^ 

Napoleon I. and II. are said to have had their imperial 
robes embroidered with golden Bees, as claiming official 
descent from Carolus Magnus, who is said to have worn 
them on his coat of arms.* 

1 Fern. Monarchie, c. vi. 49. 

2 Williams' Chinese Empire, i. 275. 

3 Chiflet, 164-181 ; Montf. Monarch. Franc, i. 12; Gough's Sepul. 
Mon., vol. i. p. Ixii. 

♦ Cf. N. ^ Q., vii. 478, 553; viii. 30. 


APID.^ — BEES. 197 

On a Continental forty-five dollar bill, issued on the 14th 
of January, 1779, is represented an Apiary in which two 
Beehives are visible, and Bees are seen swarming about. 
The motto is " Sic floret Respublica — Thus flourishes the 
Republic." It conveys the simple lesson that by industry 
and frugality the Republic would prosper.^ 

Bees in the heroic ages it appears were not confined in 
hives ; for, whenever Homer describes them, it is either 
where they are streaming forth from a rock,^ or settling in 
bands and clusters on the spring flowers. Hesiod, however, 
soon after makes mention of a hive where he is uncourte- 
ously comparing women to droi^es : 

As when within their well-roofd hives the Bees 
Maintain the mischief-working drones at ease, 
Their task pursuing till the golden sun 
Down to the western wave his course hath run, 
Filling their shining combs, while snug within 
Their fragrant cells, the drones, with idle din 
As princes revel o'er their unpaid bowls. 
On others' labors cheer their worthless souls. ^ 

It may be surprising to many to know that Bees were not 
originally natives of this country. But such is the case; 
the first planters never saw any. The English first intro- 
duced them into Boston, and in 1670, they were carried over 
the Alleghany Mountains by a hurricane.* Since that time, 
it has been remarked they betray an invariable tendency for 
migrating southward.^ 

Bees for a long time were known to our Indians by the 
name of "English Flies;'"' and they consider them, says 
Irving, as the harbinger of the white man, as the buffalo is 
of the red man, and say that in proportion as the Bee ad- 
vances, the Indian and the bufl'alo retire.^ 

Longfellow, in his Song of Hiawatha, in describing the 
advent of the European to the New World, makes his 
Indian warrior say of the Bee and the white clover : 

1 Harper's New Monthly Mag., xxvi. 441. 

2 11. Q. 87 ; ^. 67 ; Odyss , v. 106. 

3 Hesiod, Theog., 594, seq. 
* Bucke on Nature, ii. 75. 

5 Cf. Kalm, ii. 427 ; Schneider, Observ. sur UUoa, ii. 198. 

6 Ihid. 

' Tour in the Prairies, eh. ix. 


198 APID^ — BEES. 

"Wheresoever they move, before them 
Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo, 
Swarms the Bee, the honey-maker; 
Wheresoe'er they tread, beneath them 
Springs a flower unknown among us. 
Springs the White Man's Foot in blossom. 

Many Apiarians contend that newly-settled countries are 

most favorable to the Bee ; and an old German adage runs 

Bells' ding dong, But hoot of owl, 

And choral song, And "wolfs long howl" 

Deter the bee Incite to moil 

From industry: « And steady toil.^ 

Hector St. John, in his Letters, gives the following curi- 
ous account of the method which he employed in discovering 
Bees in our woods in early times : Provided with a blanket, 
some provisions, wax, vermilion, honey, and a small pocket 
compass, he proceeded to such woods as were at a consider- 
able distance from the settlements. Then examining if they 
abounded with large trees, he kindled a small fire on some 
flat stones, close by which putting some wax, and, on another 
stone near by, dropping distinct drops of honey, which he 
encircled with the vermilion. He then retired to carefully 
watch if any Bees appeared. The smell of the burnt wax, 
if there were any Bees in the neighborhood, would unavoid- 
ably attract them ; and, finding the honey, would necessarily 
become tinged with the vermilion, in attempting to get at 
it. Next, fixing his compass, he found out the direction of 
the hives by the flight of the loaded Bees, which is invariably 
straight when they tire returning home. Then timing with 
his watch the absence of the Bee till it would come back for 
a second load, and recognizing it by the vermilion, he could 
generally guess pretty closely to the distance traversed by it 
in the given time. Knowing then the direction and the 
probable distance, he seldom failed in going directly to the 
right tree. In this way he sometimes found as many as 
eleven swarms in one season. ^ 

The shepherds of the Alps, as we learn from Sausure quoted 
in the Insect Miscellanies, as soon as the snows are melted 
on the sides of the mountains, transfer their flocks from the 

1 Langstroth on the Honey-Bee, p. 236. 
' Letters. 


APID^ — BEES. 199 

valleys below to the fresh pasture revived by the summer 
sun, in the natural parterres and patches of meadow-land 
formed at the foot of crumbling rocks, and sheltered by them 
from mountain storms; and so difficult sometimes is this 
transfer to be accomplished, that the sheep have to be slung 
by means of ropes from one cliff to another before they can 
be stationed on the little grass-plot above. ^ A similar 
artificial migration (if we may use the term), continues the 
author of the Miscellanies, is effected in some countries by 
the proprietors of Beehives, who remove them from one 
district to another, that they may find abundance of flowers, 
and by this means prolong the summer. Sometimes this 
transfer is performed by persons forming an ambulatory es- 
tablishment, like that of a gipsy horde, and encamping 
wherever flowers are found plentiful. Bee-caravans of this 
kind are reported to be not uncommon in some districts of 
Germany ;^ and in parts of Greece,^ Italy, and France,* the 
transportation of Bees was practiced from very early times. 
But a more singular practice in such transportation was to 
set the Beehives afloat in a canal or river, and we are in- 
formed that, in France, one Bee-barge was built of capacity 
enough for from sixty to one hundred hives, and by floating 
gently down the river, the Bees had an opportunity of 
gathering honey from the flowers along the banks. ^ 

An instance of Bees being kept in this singular manner is 
found in the following quotation from the London Times, 
1830: "As a small vessel was proceeding up the Channel 
from the coast of Cornwall, and running near the land, some 
of the sailors observed a swarm of Bees on an island ; they 
steered for it, landed, and took the Bees on board ; succeeded 
in hiving them immediately, and proceeded on their voyage ; 

1 Voyages dans les Alpes. Ins. 3fisc., p. 262. 

2 Brookes mentions the Duchy of Juliers, a district of Westphalia, 
Germany. — Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 160. 

3 Columella says the Greeks were accustomed, every year, to re- 
move the hives from Achaia into Attica. — Ibid. 

* One person in particular, in the territory called Gatonois, has 
been at the pains of removing his hives, after the harvest of Sain- 
foin, into the plains of Beauce, where the melilot abounds, and 
thence into Sologne, where it is well known the Bees may enjoy 
the advantage of buckwheat, till toward the end of September, for 
so long that plant retains its flowers. — Ibid. 

^ Ins. Misc., p. 262. 

200 APID.^ — BEES. 

as they sailed along shore, the Bees constantly flew from the 
vessel to the land, to collect honey, and returned again to 
their moving hive; and this was continued all the way up 
the Channel."^ 

In Lower Egypt, observes M. Maillet in his Description 
of Egypt, where the blossoming of flowers is about six weeks 
later than in the upper districts, the practice of transporting 
Beehives is much followed. The hives are collected from dif- 
ferent villages along the banks, each being marked and num- 
bered by individual proprietors, to prevent future mistakes. 
They are then arranged in pyramidal piles upon the boats 
prepared to receive them, which, floating gradually down the 
river, and stopping at certain stages of their passage, re- 
main there a longer or a shorter time, according to the pro- 
duce afforded by the surrounding country within two or 
three leagues. In this manner the Bee-boats sail for three 
months; the Bees, having culled the honey of the orange- 
flowers in the Said, and of the Arabian jasmine and other 
flowers in the more northern parts, are brought back to the 
places whence they had been carried. This procures for 
the Egyptians delicious honey and abundance of wax. The 
proprietors in return pay the boatmen a recompense propor- 
tioned to the number of hives which have been thus carried 
about from one extremity of Egypt to the other.^ The 
celebrated traveler Niebuhr saw upon the Nile, between 
Cairo and Damietta, a convoy of 4000 hives in their transit 
from Upper Egypt to the coast of the Delta.^ 

In the Bienenzeitung for 1854, p. 83, appears the follow- 
ing statements: "Mr. Kaden, of Mayence, thinks that the 
range of the Bee's flight does not usually extend more than 
three miles in all directions. Several years ago, a vessel, 
laden with sugar, anchored off Mayence, and was soon 
visited by the Bees of the neighborhood, which continued to 
pass to and from the vessel from dawn to dark. One morn- 
ing, when the Bees v/ere in full flight, the vessel sailed up 
the river. For a short time, the Bees continued to fly as 
numerously as before ; but gradually the number diminished, 
and, in course of half an hour, all had ceased to follow the 
vessel, which had, meanwhile, sailed more than four miles."* 

1 Mag. of Nat. Hist., iii 652. 

2 Wooers Zooff., ii. 429. 

3 Ins. Misc., p. 2G3. 
* Quel, by Laugstrotli — On Ho7iey-Bee, p. 305, note. 

APID^ — BEES. 201 

Aristomacbus of Soli, says Pliny, made Bees his exclu- 
sive study for a period of fifty-eight years; and Philiocns, 
the Thraeian, surnamed Agrius — "Wildraan" — passed his 
life in desert spots tending swarms of Bees.^ 

Schomburgk says he saw, in his journey to the sources 
of the Takutu, an Indian, who was the conjuror or piaiman 
of his tribe, merely approach a nest of the wild Warn pang- 
bees {Wampisiana camniba), and knocking with his fingers 
against it, drive out all the Bees without a single one injuring 
him. The piaiman, Schomburgk remarks, drew his fingers 
under the pits of his arms before he knocked against the hive.^ 

Brue, in his first voyage to Siratic, in Africa, met with 
what he called a "phenomenon" in a person entitling him- 
self the "King of the Bees." His majesty accordingly came to 
the boat of the traveler entirely covered with these insects, 
and followed by thousands, over which he appeared to ex- 
ercise the most absolute authority. These Bees were never 
known to injure either himself or those whom he took under 
his protection.^ 

Mr. Wildman, the most celebrated Bee-tamer, frequently 
asserted that armed with his friendly Bees he was defensible 
against the fiercest mastiffs ; and, it is said, he actually did, 
at Salisbury, encounter three yard-dogs one after the other. 
The conditions of the engagement were, that he should have 
notice of the dog being set at him. Accordingly the first 
mastiff was set loose ; and as he approached the man, two 
Bees were detached, which immediately stung him, the one 
on the nose, the other on the flank; upon receiving the 
wounds, the dog retired very much daunted. After this, the 
second dog entered the lists, and was foiled with the same 
expedition as the first. The third dog was at last brought 
against the champion, but the animal observing the ill success 
of his brethren, would not attempt to sustain a combat; so, 
in a cowardly manner, he retired with his tail between his 

Many other remarkable anecdotes are told of this gentle- 
man, illustrating his wonderful control over Bees. He could 
also, indeed, tame wasps and hornets, with almost the same 
ease as he could Bees, and an instance is mentioned of his 

^ Nat. Hist., X. 9. 

2 Journ. of Geog. Soc, 1843, xiii. 40. 

« Murray's Africa, i. 108. 


202 APID.E — BEES. 

hiving a nest of hornets which hung at the top of the inside 
of a high barn. He, however, was stung twice in this under- 

Mr. Wildman frequently exhibited himself with his head 
and face almost covered with Bees, and with such a swarm 
of them hanging down from his chin as to resemble a vener- 
able beard. In this extraordinary dress he was once brought 
through the City of London sitting in a chair. Before Earl 
Spencer, Mr. Wildman also made many wonderful perform- 

Says Dr. Evans : 

Such was the spell, which round a Wildman's ai-ni 
Twined in dark wreatlis the fascinated swarm, 
Bright o'er his breast the glittering legions led, 
Or with a living garland bound his head. 
His dexterous hand, with firm but hurtless hold, 
Could seize the chief, known by her scales of gold, 
Prune, 'mid the wondering throng, her filmy wing, 
Or o'er her folds the silken fetter fling.^ 

"Long experience has taught me," says Mr. Wildman 
himself, "that as soon as I turn up a hive, and give some 
taps on the sides and bottom, the queen immediately appears. 
Being accustomed to see her, I readily perceive her at the 
first glance; and long practice has enabled me to seize her 
instantly, with a tenderness that does not in the least endan- 
ger her person. Being possessed of her, I can, without 
exciting any resentment, slip her into my other hand, and 
returning the hive to its place, hold her, till the Bees, missing 
her, are all on the wing and in the utmost confusion." It 
was then, by placing the queen in view, he could make them 
light wherever he pleased, from their great attachment to 
her, and sometimes using a word of command to mystify the 
spectators, he would cause them to settle on his head, and to 
hang to his chin like a beard, from which he would order 
them to his hand, or to an adjacent window. But, however 
easy such feats may appear in theory, Mr. Wildman cautious 
(probably with a view to deter rivals) those who are inex- 
perienced not to put themselves in danger of attempting to 
imitate him. A liberated Roman slave, C. F. Cnesinus, 
being accused before the tribunals of witchcraft, because his 

1 Scot's Mag., Nov. 1766. Chamb. Journ , 1st S. xi. 184. 

2 The Bees. 

APID^ — BEES. 203 

crops were more abundant than those of his neighbors, 
produced as his witnesses some superior implements of 
husbandry, and well fed oxen, and pointing to them said : 
"These, Romans! are my instruments of witchcraft; but I 
cannot show you my toil, my perseverance, and my anxious 
cares." "So," says Wildman, "may I say. These, Britons 1 
are my instruments of witchcraft; but I cannot show you 
my hours of attention to this subject, my anxiety and care 
for these useful insects; nor can I communicate to you my 
experience acquired during a course of years. "^ 

Butler mentions two instances where the stings of Bees 
have been fatal to "cattaile": 

"A horse," he informs us, "in the heate of the day look- 
ing over a hedge, on the other side whereof was a staule of 
Bees, while hee stood nodding with his head, as his manner 
is, because of the flies, the Bees fell vpon him and killed 
him. Likewise I heard of a teeme that stretching against 
a hedge overthrew a staule on the other side, and so two of 
the horses were stung to death. "^ 

Mungo Park and his party were twice seriously attacked 
by large swarms of Bees. The first attack is mentioned in 
the account of his first journey; the second in the account 
of his second. The latter singular accident befell them in 
1805, and is thus narrated in his journal : The cofile had 
halted at a creek, and the .asses had just been unloaded, 
when some of his guide Isaaca's people, being in search of 
honey, unfortunately disturbed a large swarm of Bees near 
their resting-place. The Bees came out in immense num- 
bers, and attacked men and beasts at the same time. Luck- 
ily, most of the asses were loose, and galloped up the val- 
ley ; but the horses and people were very much stung, and 
obliged to scamper off in all directions. The fire which had 
been kindled for cooking, being deserted, spread, and set fire 
to the bamboos, and the baggage had like to have been 
burned. In fact, for half an hour the Bees seemed to have 
completely put an end to the journey. In the evening when 
they became less troublesome, and the cattle could be col- 
lected, it was found that many of them were very much 
stung, and swollen about the head. Three asses were miss- 
ing"; one died in the course of the evening, and one next 

1 Treatise on Bees, 1769. Ins. Misc., p. 320-1. 

2 Ftm. Monarchic, ch i. 39. 

204 APIDiE — BEES. 

morninp:, and they were forced to leave one behind the next 
day. Altogether six were lost, besides which, the guide 
lost his horse, and many of the people were much stung 
about the face and hands. ^ 

But in the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times, we 
find the following : "Anthenor, writing of the Isle of Crete 
(with whom also ioyneth ^Elianus) saith, that a great multi- 
tude of Bees chased al the dwellers out of a City, and vsed 
their Houses instead of Hives.'" 

Montaigne mentions the following singular assistance 
rendered by Bees to the inhabitants of Tamly : The Por- 
tuguese having besieged the City of Tamly, in the territory 
of Xiatine, the inhabitants of the place brought a great 
many hives, of which there are great plenty in that place, 
upon the wall ; and with fire drove the Bees so furiously 
upon the enemy that they gave over the enterprise, not being 
able to stand their attacks and endure their stings : and so 
the citizens, by this new sort of relief, gained liberty and 
the victory with so wonderful a fortune, that at the return 
of their defenders from the battle they found they had not 
lost so much as one.^ 

Lesser tells us that in 1525, during the confusion occa- 
sioned by a time of war, a mob assembling in Hohnstein (in 
Thuringia) attempted to plunder the house of the minister 
of Elende ; who having spokeij to them with no efi'ect, as a 
last resort ordered his domestics to bring his Beehives, and 
throw them in the midst of the furious mob. The desired 
effect was instantaneous, for the mob dispersed immedi- 

Bees have also been employed as an article of food. Knox 
tells us that the natives of Ceylon, when they meet with a 
swarm of Bees hanging on a tree, hold burning torches 
under them to make them drop ; and so catch and carry 
them home, where they boil and eat them, in their estima- 
tion, as excellent food.^ 

Peter Martyr, speaking of the Caribbean Islands, says : 

1 Travels, p. 178, Harper's ed. 

2 B. VII. c. xvi. p. 667. Printed, 1613. 

3 Montaigne's Works, p. 243. 

4 Lesser, ii. 171. K. & S. Introd., ii. 247. 

5 Knox, Pt. I. e. vi. p. 48. 

APID^ — BEES. 205 

" The Inhabitantes willingly eate the young Bees, rawe, 
roasted, and sonietiraes sodden."^ 

Bancroft tells us that when the negroes of Guiana are 
stung by Bees, they in revenge eat as many as they can 

The following account of the Bee-eater of Selborne, Eng- 
land, is by the Reverend, and very accurate naturalist, Gil- 
bert White: "We had in this village," says he, "more 
than twenty years ago (about 1*765), an idiot boy, whom I 
well remember, who, from a child, showed a strong pro- 
pensity to Bees : they were his food, his amusement, his sole 
object ; and as people of this cast have seldom more than 
one point in view, so this lad exerted all his few faculties on 
this one pursuit. In the winter he dozed away his time, 
within his father's house, by the fireside, in a kind of torpid 
state, seldom departing from the chimney corner ; but in the 
summer he was all alert, and in quest of his game in the 
fields and on sunny banks. Honey-bees, Humble-bees, and 
Wasps were his prey, wherever he found them: he had no 
apprehensions from their stings, but would seize nudis 
marnhus, and at once disarm them of their weapons, and 
search their bodies for the sake of their honey-bags. Some- 
times he would fill his bosom between his shirt and his skin 
with a number of these captives ; and sometimes would 
confine them in bottles. He was a very Merops apiaster, 
or Bee-bird, and very injurious to men that kept Bees ; for 
he would slide into tiieir Bee-gardens, and, sitting down be- 
fore the stools, would rap with his finger on the hives, and 
so take the Bees as they came out. He has been known to 
overtuT-n hives for the sake of honey, of which he was pas- 
sionately fond. Where metheglin was making, he would 
linger round the tubs and vessels, begging a draught of 
what he called Bee-wine. As he ran about he used to 
make a humming noise with his lips, resembling the buzzing 
of Bees. This lad was lean and sallow, and of a cadaverous 
complexion ; and, except in his favorite pursuit, in which 
he was wonderfully adroit, discovered no manner of under- 

There is a peculiar substance formed by a species of Bee 

1 Martyr, p. 274. 

2 Banc. Guiana, p. 230. 

3 Nat. Hist, of Selborne, p. 293. 

206 APID^ — BEES. 

in the Orinoco country, which, says Captain Stedman, the 
roosting tribes burn incessantly in their habitations, and 
which effectually protects them from all winged insects. 
They call it Comejou; Gumilla says it is neither earth nor 

Concerning the medicinal virtues of Bees, Dr. James 
says: "Their salts are very volatile, and highly exalted; 
for this reason, when dry'd, powder'd, and taken internally, 
they are diuretic and diaphoretic. If this powder is mixed 
in unguents, with which the head is anointed, it is said to 
cure the Alopecia, and to contribute to the growth of hair 
upon bald places."^ 

Another, an old writer, says: "If Bees, when dead, are 
dried to powder, and given to either man or beast, this 
medicine will often give immediate ease in the most excru- 
ciating pain, and remove a stoppage in the body when all 
other means have failed." A tea made by pouring boiling 
water upon Bees has recently been prescribed, by high medi- 
cal authority, for violent strangury ; while the poison of the 
Bee, under the name of apis, is a great homoeopathic 

Concerning wax, Dr. James says : " All wax is heating, 
mollifying, and moderately incaruing. It is mixed in sorbile 
liquors as a remedy for dysentery ; and ten bits, of the size 
of a grain of millet, swallowed, prevent the curdling of milk 
in the breast of nurses."* 

[If we might credit the history of former times, says Jamie- 
son, in his Scottish Dictionary, sub. Walx, iv. 642-3, there 
must have been a considerable demand for this article (wax) 
for the purpose of witchcraft. It was generally found neces- 
sary, it would seem, as the medium of inflicting pain on the 
bodies of men. 

" To some others at these times he teacheth, how to make 
pictures of icaxe or clay, that by the wasting thereof, the 
persons that they beare the name of, may be continually 
melted or dried away by continuall sickenesse." K. James's 
Daemonologie, B. II. c. 5. 

In order to cause acute pain in the patient, pins, we are 

1 Trav., i. 9. 

2 Med. Diet. 

3 Langslroth on Honey-Bee, p. 315, note. 
* Med. Did. 

APID^ BEES. 20*7 

told, were stuck in that part of the body of the image, in 
which they wished the person to suffer. 

The same plan was adopted for inspiring another with 
the ardor of love. 

Then mould her form of fairest wax, 
AVith adder's eyes and feet of horn ; 

Place this small scroll within its breast, 
Which I, your friend, have hither borne. 

Then make a blaze of alder wood, 
Before your fire make this to stand ; 

And the last night of every moon 
The bonny May's at your command. 

Hogg's Mountain Bard, p. 35. 

Then it follows : 

AYith fire and steel to urge her weel, 
See that you neither stint nor spare; 

For if the cock be heard to crow, 
The charm will vanish into air. 

The wounds given to the image were supposed to be pro- 
ductive of similar stounds of love in the tender heart of the 
maiden whom it represented. 

A female form, of melting wax, 

Mess John surveyed with steady eye, 

Which ever an anon he pierced. 

And forced the lady loud to cry. — P. 84. 

The same horrid rites were observed on the continent. 
For Grilland (de Sortilegiis) says : Quidam solent apponere 
imagmem cerae juxta ignem ardentera, completis sacrificiis, 
de quibus supra, & adhibere quasdam preces nefarias, & 
turpia verba, ut quemadmodum imago ilia igne consumitur 
& liquescit, eodem modo cor raulieris amoris calore talis 
viri feruenter ardeat, etc. Malleus Malefic. T. H., p. 232. 

It cannot be doubted that these rites have been trans- 
mitted from heathenism. Theocritus mentions them as 
practiced by the Greeks in his time. For he introduces 
Samoetha as using similar enchantments, partly for punish- 
ing, and partly for regaining her faithless lover. 

But strew the salt, and say in angry tones, 
"I scatter Delphid's, perjured Delphid's bones. "^ 
— First Delphid injured me, he raised my flame, 
And now I burn this bough in Delphid's name ; 

208 APID.E — BEES. 

As this dolh blaze, and break away in fume, 
How soon it takes, let Delpbid's flesh consume, 
lynx, restore my false, my perjured swain, 
And force him back into my arms again. — 
As this devoted wax melts o'er the fire, 
Let Mindian Delj^hy melt in warm desire ! 

Idylliums, p. 12, 13, 

Samoetha burns the bough in the name of her false lover, 
and terms the wax devoted. With this the more modern 
ritual of witchcraft corresponded. The name of the person, 
represented by the image, was invoked. For according to 
the narrative given concerning the witches of Pollock-shaws, 
having bound the image on a spit, they " turned it before 
the fire, — saying, as they turned it, Sir George Maxwell, 
Sir George Maxwell; and that this was expressed by all 
of them." Glanvil's Sadducismus, p. 391. 

According to Grilland, the image was baptized in the 
name of Beelzebub. Malleus, ut. sup., p. 229. 

There is nothing analogous to the Grecian rite, mentioned 
by Theocritus, of strewing salt. For Grilland asserts that, 
in the festivals of the witches, salt was never presented. 
Ibid., p. 215. It was perhaps exclnded from their infernal 
rites as having been so much used as a sacred symbol.] 

The following are among the twenty-eight " singular 
vertues" attributed by Butler to Honey ;"..., It breedeth 
good blood, it prolongeth old age . , , , yea the bodies of 
the dead being embalmed with honey have been thereby pre- 
served from putrefaction. And Afhenseus doth witness it 
to be as effectual for the living, writing out of Lycus, that 
the Cyrneans, or inhabitants of Corsica, were therefore long- 
lived, because they did dailie vse to feed on honey, whereof 
they had abundance : and no marvaile : seeing it is so sove- 
raigne a thing, and so many waies available for man's 
health, as well being outwardly as inwardly applied. It is 
drunke against the bite of a serpent or mad dogs : and it 
is good for them having eaten mushrooms, or drunke popy, 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times,^ there 
are two chapters devoted to the " Yertues of Honey." 

1 Fern. Monarchies c, x. 1. 

2 B. 3, c, XV. xvi. p. 274-9. See also extract from Works of Sir 
J. More, London, 1707, given by Langstroth — on the Honey-Bee, p. 
287, note. 

APID^ — BEES. 209 

There is a story, that a man once came to Mohammed, 
and told him that his brother was afflicted with a violent 
pain in his belly; upon which the prophet bade him give 
him some honey. The fellow took his advice; but soon 
after coming again, told him that the medicine had done his 
brother no manner of service : Mohammed answered, ^' Go 
and give him more honey, for God speaks truth, and thy 
brother's belly lies." And the dose being repeated, the 
man, by God's mercy, was immediately cured. ^ 

In the sixteenth chapter of the Koran, Mohammed has 
likewise mentioned honey as a medicine for men.^ 

Athenasus tells us that Democritus, the philosopher of 
Abdera, after he had determined to rid himself of life on 
account of his extreme old age, and when he had begun to 
diminish his food day by day, when the day of the Thesmo- 
phonian festival came round, and the women of his house- 
hold besought him not to die during the festival, in order 
that they might not be debarred from their share of the 
festivities, was persuaded and ordered a vessel full of honey 
to be set near him : and in this way he lived many days with 
no other support than honey; and then some days after, 
when the honey had been taken away, he died. But Demo- 
critus, Athena3us adds, had always been fond of honey ; and 
he once answered a man, who had asked him how he could 
live in the enjoyment of the best health, that he might do 
so if he constantly moistened his inward parts with honey 
and his outward man with oil. Bread and honey was the 
chief food of the Pythagoreans, according to the statement 
of Aristoxenus, who says that those who ate this for break- 
fast were free from disease all their lives.^ 

" The gall of a vulture," says Moufet, quoting Galen, in 
Eaporist, "mingled with the juice of horehound (twice as 
much in weight as the gall is) and two parts of honey cures 
the suffusion of the eyes. Otherwise he mingles one part 
of the gall of the sea-tortoise, and four times as much honey, 
and anoints the eyes with it. Serenus prescribes such a re- 
ceipt to cause one to be quick-sighted : 

1 The Koran, p. 219, note, Sale's. 

^Ibid., p. 219. 

3 Athen. Deijjn., B. 2, c. 26. 


210 APID^ — BEES. 

Mingle Hybloean honey with the gall 

Of Goats, 'tis good to make one see withall."i 

We are told in the German Ephemerides, that a young 
country girl, having eaten a great deal of honey, became so 
inebriated with it, that she slept the whole day, and talked 
foolishly the day following.^ 

Bevan, in his work on the Honey-Bee, mentions the fol- 
lowing instances of a curious use to which propolis is some- 
times put by the Bees : A snail, says he, having crept into 
one of Mr. Beaumur's hives early in the morning, after 
crawling about for some time, adhered, by means of its own 
slime, to one of the glass panes. The Bees, having dis- 
covered the snail, surrounded it, and formed a border of 
propolis round the verge of its shell, and fastened it so 
securely to the glass that it became immovable. 

Forever closed the impenetrable door; 

It naught avails that in its torpid veins 

Year after year, life's loitering spark remains. 


Maraldi, another eminent Apiarian, states that a snail 
without a shell having entered one of his hives, the Bees, as 
soon as they observed it, stung it to death ; after which, 
being unable to dislodge it, they covered it all over with an 
impervious coat of propolis. 

For soon in fearless ire, their wonder lost, 
Spring fiercely from the comb the indignant host, 
Lay tlie pierced monster breathless on the ground, 
And chip in joy their victor pinions round: 
While all in vain concurrent numbers strive 
To heave tlie slime-girt giant from the hive — 
Sure not alone by force instinctive swayed, 
But blest witli reason's soul-directing aid, 
Alike in man or bee, they haste to pour, 
Thick, hard'ning as it falls, the flaky shower; 
Embalmed in shroud of glue the mummy lies, 
No worms invade, no foul miasmas rise. 


Xenophon tells us that all the soldiers, who ate of the 
honey-combs, found in the villages on the mountains of the 

1 Moufet, Theatr. Ins., p. 29. Topsel's Trans., p. 911. 

2 Brooke's Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 108. 

2 Quot. by Laugstroth on the IIoney-Bce, p. 78-9. 

APID^ — BEES. 211 

Colchians, lost their senses, and were seized with such vio- 
lent vomiting and purging, that none of them were able to 
stand upon their legs : that those who ate but little, were like 
men very drunk, and those who ate much, like madmen, and 
some like dying persons. In this condition, this writer adds, 
great numbers lay upon the ground, as if there had been a 
defeat, and a general sorrow prevailed. The next day, they 
all recovered their senses, about the same hour they were 
seized ; and, on the third and fourth days, they got up as if 
they had taken physic.^ 

Pliny accounts for this accident by saying there is found 
in that country a kind of honey, called from its effects, Thse- 
nomenon, that is, that those who eat it are seized with mad- 
ness. He adds, that the common opinion is that this honey 
is gathered from the flowers of a plant called Wiododendros, 
which is very common in those parts. Tournefort thinks 
the modern Laurocerasus is the Rhododendros of Pliny, 
from the fact that the people of that country, at the present 
day, believe the honey that is gathered from its flowers will 
produce the effects described by Xenophon.^ 

The missionary Moffat in South Africa found some poison- 
ous honey, which he unknowingly ate, but with no serious 
consequences. It was several days, however, before he got 
rid of a most unpleasant sensation in his head and throat. 
The plant from which the honey had been gathered was an 

"In Podolia," says the chronicler HoUingshed, "which is 
now subject to the King of Poland, their hives (of Bees) 
and combes are so abundant, that huge bores, overturning 
and falling into them, are drowned in the honie, before they 
can recover & find the meanes to come out."* 

Honey was offered up to the Sun by the ancient Peru- 

Dr. Sparrman has described a Hottentot dance, which he 
calls the Bee-dance. It is in imitation of a swarm of Bees; 
every performer as he jumps around making a buzzing noise.s 

1 Anab., B. 4. 

2 Pliny, Hat. Hist., xxi. 13. Tournefort, Letters, V 

3 3fission. Lab., p. 121. 

4 Hollingsh. Chron., i. 384. 

5 Hawk's Peruvian Antiq., p. 198, 
fi Voyage to C. of G. Hope, i. 255, 

212 APTDiE — BEES. 

"To have a Bee in one's bonnet" is a Scottish proverbial 
phrase about equivalent to the English, "To have a maggot 
in one's head" — to be hair-brained. Kelly gives this with 
an additional word: "There's a Bee in your bonnet-ease." 
In Scotland, too, it is said of a confused or stupefied man, 
that his "head is in the Bees."^ These proverbial expres- 
sions were also in vogue in England.^ 

The following beautiful epigram, on a Bee inclosed in 
amber, is from the pen of Martial : " The Bee is inclosed, 
and shines preserved, in a tear of the sisters of Phaeton, so 
that it seems enshrined in its own nectar. It has obtained 
a worthy reward for its great toils ; we may suppose that 
the Bee itself would have desired such a death. 

The Bee inclosed, and through the amber shown. 
Seems buried in the juice that was her own. 
So honored was a life in labor spent: 
Such might she wish to have her monument. "3 

The Septuagint has the following eulogium on the Bee in 
Prov. vi. 8, which is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures : " Go 
to the Bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what a noble 
work she produces, whose labors kings and private men use 
for their -health ; she is desired and honored by all, and 
though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom, she 

In Spain Bees are in great estimation ; and this is evinced 
by the ancient proverb : 

Abeja y oveja, 

Y piedra que traveja, 

Y pendola trans orcja, 

Y parte en la Igreja, 
Desea a su hija, la vieja 

The best wishes of a Spanish mother to her son are, 
Bees, sheep, millstones, a pen behind the ear, and a place 
in the church.^ 

The following anecdote in the history of the Humble-bee 

1 Jamieson's Scot. Diet. 

2 Wright's 7^0?;. Diet. 

3 Epigrams, B. iv. epigr. 32. 
* Smith's Did. of the Bible. 

5 Osbeek's Travels, i. 32-3. 

APIDiE — BEES. 213 

{Bomhui<) is from the account of Josselyn of his voyages to 
New England, printed in 1674: "Near upon twenty years 
since there lived an old planter near Blackpoint, who on a 
Sunshine day about one of the clock lying upon a green bank 
not far from his house, charged his Son, a lad of 12 years of 
age, to awaken him when he had slept two hours ; the old 
man falls asleep, and lying upon his back gaped with his 

mouth wide open enough for a Hawke to into it; after 

a little while the lad sitting by spied a Humble-bee creeping 
out of his Father's mouth, which taking wing flew quite out 
of sight, the hour as the lad guest being come to awaken his 
Father, he jagged him and called aloud Father, Father, it is 
two o'clock, but all would not rouse him, at last he sees the 
Humble-bee returning, who lighted upon the sleeper's lip 
and walked down as the lad conceived into his belly, and 
presently he awaked."^ 

The following, on the different species of Humble-bees, is 
one of the popular rhymes of Scotland : 

The todler-tyke lias a very gude byke, 

And sae lias the gairy Bee ; 
But weel's me on the little red-doup, 

The best o' a' the three. ^ 

When the Archbishop of St. Andrews was cruelly mur- 
dered in 1679, " upon the opening of his tobacco box a living 
humming bee flew out," which was explained to be a familiar 
or devil. A Scottish woman declared that a child was poi- 
soned by its grandmother, who, together with herself, were 
" in the shape of burae-bees," that the former carried the 
poison "in her cleugh, wings, and mouth." A great Bee 
constantly resorted to another after receiving the Satanic 
mark, and rested on it.^ 

An anecdote is related by M. Reaumur respecting the 
thimble- shaped nest, formed of leaves, of the Carpenter-bee 
(Apis centiinctdaris?), which is a striking instance of the 
ridiculous superstition which prevails among the unedu- 
cated, and which even sometimes has no slight influence on 
those of better understandings. " In the beginning of July, 
1736, the learned Abbe Nollet, then at Paris, was surprised 

1 Josselyn's Vo?/., p. 121. 

2 Chambers' Fop. Rhymes of Scot., p. 292. Edit, of 1841, p. 172. 

3 Dalyell's Superst. of Scolland, p. 568. 


214 APIP^E — BEES. 

by a visit from an auditor of the chamber of accounts, 
whose estate lay at a distant village on the borders of 
the Seine, a few leagues from Rouen. This gentleman 
came accompanied, among other domestics, by a gardener, 
whose face had an air of much concern. He had come 
to Paris in consequence of having found in his master's 
ground many rows of leaves, unaccountably disposed in 
a mystical manner, and which he could not but believe 
were there placed by witchcraft, for the secret destruc- 
tion of his lord and family. He had, after recovering 
from his first consternation, shown them to the curate of the 
parish, who was inclined to be of a similar opinion, and ad- 
vised him without delay to take a journey to Paris, and 
make his lord acquainted with the circumstance. This gen- 
tleman, though not quite so much alarmed as the honest 
gardener, could not feel himself at perfect ease, and there- 
fore thought it advisable to consult his surgeon upon the 
business, who, though a man eminent in his profession, 
declared himself utterly unacquainted with the nature of 
what was shown him, but took the liberty of advising that 
the Abbe Nollet, as a philosopher, should be consulted, 
whose well-known researches in natural knowledge might 
perhaps enable him to elucidate the matter. It was in 
consequence of this advice that the Abbe received the visit 
above mentioned, and had the satisfaction of relieving all 
parties from their embarrassment, by showing them several 
nests formed on a similar plan by other insects, and assuring 
them that those in their possession were the work of insects 

In an English paper, the Observer, of July 25, 1813, 
there is an account of a "swarm of Bees resting themselves 
on the inside of a lady's parasol." They were hived with- 
out any serious injury to the lady. 

In the Annual Register, 1*767, p. 117, thei^e was published 
by M. Lippi, Licentiate in Physic of the army of Paris, an 
account of a petrified Beehive, discovered on the mountains 
of Siout, in Upper Egypt. Broken open it disclosed the 
larva3 of Bees in the cells, hard and solid, and Bees them- 
selves dried up like mummies. Honey was also found in 
the cells !^ The account is curious, but not entitled to much 

1 Shaw's Zool., vi. 346-7. Wood's Zoog., ii. 436-7. 

2 Kirhy's Wonderful Hfuseum, v. 390-1, given at leiigtli.^ 

APID^ — BEES. 215 

In the Liverpool Advertiser, and Times, of Nov. 24, 
1817, there is a lengthy account of three Bees being found 
in a state of animation in a huge solid rock from the West- 
ern Point Quarry. Scientific attention was attracted, and 
as appears from the above-mentioned papers of Dec. 5, 1817, 
the mystery was cleared up by discovering in the rock " a 
sand hole" through which the insects had made their way.^ 

1 Kirby's Wond. Museum, vi. 260-2, at length. 



Papilionidae — Butterflies. 

The lepidopterous insects in general, soon after they 
emerge from the pupa state, and commonly during their first 
flight, discharge some drops of a red-colored fluid, more or 
less intense in different species, which, in some instances, 
where their numbers have been considerable, have produced 
the appearance of a "shower of blood," as this natural phe- 
nomenon is commonly called. 

Showers of blood have been recorded by historians and 
poets as preternatural — have been considered in the light of 
prodigies, and regarded where they have happened as fearful 
prognostics of impending evils. 

There are two passages in Homer, which, however poeti- 
cal, are applicable to a rain of this kind ; and among the 
prodigies which took place after the death of the great 
dictator, Ovid particularly mentions a shower of blood : 

Sajpe faces visas mecliis ardere sub astris, 
Ssepe inter nimbos guttee cecidere cruentae. 

With tlireatening signs the lowering skies were fiU'd, 
And sanguine drops from murky clouds distilled. 

Among the nurherous prodigies reported by Livy to have 
happened in the year 214 B.C., it is instanced that, at Man- 
tua, a stagnating piece of water, caused by the overflowing 
of the River Mincius, appeared as of blood ; and, in the 
cattle-market at Rome, a shower of blood fell in the Istrian 
Street. After mentioning several other remarkable phe- 
nomena tiiat happened during that year, Livy concludes by 
saying that these prodigies were expiated, confornii'bly to 
the answers of the Aruspices, by victims of the greater 
kinds, and supplication was ordered to be performed to all 


the deities who had shrines at Kome.^ Again it is stated 
by Livy, that many alarming prodigies were seen at Rome 
in the year 181 B.C., and others reported from abroad; 
among which was a shower of blood, which fell in the 
courts of the temples of Yulcan and Concord. After 
mentioning that the image of Juno Sospita shed tears, 
and that a pestilence broke out in the country, this writer 
adds, that these prodigies, and the mortality which prevailed, 
alarmed the Senate so much, that they ordered the consuls 
to sacrifice to such gods as their judgment should direct, 
victims of the larger kinds, and that the Decemvirs should 
consult their books. Pursuant to their direction, a suppli- 
cation for one day was proclaimed to be performed at every 
shrine at Rome ; and they advised, besides, and the Senate 
voted, and the consul proclaimed, that there should be a 
supplication and public worship for three days throughoiit 
all Italy.^ In the year 169 B.C., Livy also mentions that a 
shower of blood fell in the middle of the day. The Decem- 
virs were again called upon to consult their books, and again 
were sacrifices offered to the deities.^ The account, also, of 
Livy, of the bloody sweat, on some of the statues of the 
gods, must be referred to the same phenomenon ; as the pre- 
dilection of those ages to marvel, says Thomas Brown, and 
the want of accurate investigation in the cases recorded, 
as well as the rare occurrence of these atmospherical depo- 
sitions in our own times, inclines us to include them among 
the blood-red drops deposited by insects.^ 

In Stow's Annales of England, we have two accounts of 
showers of blood ; and from an edition printed in London 
in 1592, we make our quotations: ''Rivallus, sonne of 
Cunedagius, succeeded his father, in whose time (in the year 
TBG B.C.) it rained blond 3 dayes : after which tempest 
ensued a great multitude of venemous flies, which slew much 
people, and then a great mortalitie throughout this lande, 
caused almost desolation of the same."^ The second 
account is as follows : "In the time of Brithricus (a.d. 786) 
it rayned blood, which falling on men's clothes, appeared 
like crosses."*' 

1 Livy, B. 34, c. 10. 2 Ibid., B. 40, c. 19. 3 /^/^,^ b. 43, c. 13. 

* Brown's Book of Butterflies^ i. 126, 

s Annales, p. 15. « fbid. 


HollinG^shed, Graften, and Fabyan have also recorded 
these instances in their respective chronicles of England.^ 

A remarl^able instance of bloody rain is introduced into 
the very interesting Icelandic ghost story of Thorgunna. 
It appears that in the year of our Lord 1009, a woman 
called Thorgunna came from the Hebrides to Iceland, where 
she stayed at the house of Thorodd : and during the hay 
season, a shower of blood fell, but only, singularly, on that 
portion of the hay she had not piled up as her share, which 
so appalled her that she betook herself to her bed, and soon 
afterward died. She left, to finish the story, a reraai-kable 
will, which, from not being executed, was the cause of seve- 
ral violent deaths, the appearance of ghosts, and, finally, a 
legal action of ejectment against the ghosts, which, it need 
hardly be said, drove them effectually away.^ 

In ion, a shower of blood fell in Aquitaine f and Sleidan 
relates that in the year 1553 a vast multitude of Buterflies 
swarmed through a great part of Germany, and sprinkled 
plants, leaves, buildings, clothes, and men with bloody drops, 
as if it had rained blood. ^ We learn also from Bateraan's 
Doome, that these " drops of bloude upon hearbes and irees," 
in 1553, were deemed among the forewarnings of the deaths 
of Charles and Philip, dukes of Brunswick.^ 

In Frrnkfort, in the year 1296, among other prodigies, 
some spots of blood led to a massacre of the Jews, in which 
ten thousand of these unhappy descendants of Abraham 
lost their lives.^ 

In the beginning of July, 1608, an extensive sho'ver of 
blood took place at Aix, in France, which threw the people 
of that p^ace into the utmost consternation, and, which is a 
much more important fact, led to the Tirst satisfactory and 
philosophical explanation of this phenomenon, but too late, 
alas ! to save the Jews of Frankfort. This explanation was 
given by M. Peiresc, a celebrated philosopher of that place, 
and is thus referred to by his biographer, Gassendi: "No- 
thing in the whole year 1608 did more please him than that 
he observed and philosophized about, the bloody rain, which 

1 Holling., i. 449. Graft., i. 37. Fabyan, p. 17. 

2 Ilowitt's North. Literat.,i. 187. 

3 Bucke 071 Nature, i. 277. 

4 Moufet, p. 107. 

5 Hone's Eo. Day Book, p. 1127. 

6 Chambers' Domest. Annals of Scotland, ii. 48'.). 


was commonly reported to have fallen about the beginning 
of July ; great drops thereof were plainly to be seen, both 
in the city itself, upon the walls of the church-yard of the 
church, which is near the city wall, and upon the city walls 
themselves; also upon the walls of villages, hamlets, and 
towns, for some miles round about; for in the firsL place, he 
went himself to see those wherewith the stones were colored, 
and did what he could to come to speak with those husband- 
men, who, beyond Lambesk, were reported to have been 
affrighted at the falling of said rain, that they left their 
work, and ran as fast as their legs could carry them into the 
adjacent houses. Whereupon, he found that it was a fable 
that was reported, touching those husbandmen. Nor was 
he pleased that naturalists should refer this kind of rain to 
vapours drawn up out of red earth aloft in the air, which 
congealing afterwards into liquor, fall down in this form ; 
because such vapours as are drawne aloft by heat, ascend 
without color, as we may know by the alone example of red 
roses, out of which the vapours that arise by heac are con- 
gealed into transparent water. He was less pleased with 
the common people, and some divines, who judged that it was 
the work of the devils and witches who had killed innocent 
young children ; for this he counted a mere conjecture, possi- 
bly also injurious to the goodness and providence of God. 

"In the mean while an accident happened, out o^^ which he 
conceived he had collected the true cause thereof. For, some 
months before, he shut up in a box a certain palmer- worm 
which he had found, rare for its bigness and form ; which, when 
he haJ forgotten, he heard a buzzing in the box, and when he 
opened it, found the palmer-worm, having cast its coat, to 
be turned into a beautiful Butterfly, which presently flew 
away, leaving in the bottom of the box a red drop as broad 
as an ordinary sous or shilling ; and because this happened 
about the beginning of the same month, and about the same 
time an incredible multitude of Butterflies were observed 
flying in the air, he was therefore of opinion that such kind 
of Butterflies resting on the walls had there shed such like 
drops, and of the same bigness. Whereupon, he went the 
second time, and found, by experience, that those drops 
were not to be found on the house-tops, nor upon the round 
sides jf the stones which stuck out, as it would liave hap- 
pened, if blood had fallen from the sky, but rather where 
the stones were somewhat hollowed, and in holes, where 


such small creatures might shroud and nestle themselves. 
Moreover, the walls which were so spotted, were not in the 
middle of towns, but they were such as bordered upon the 
fields, nor were they on the highest parts, but only so 
moderately high as Butterflies are commonly wont to fly. 

'' Thus, therefore, he interpreted that which Gregory of 
Tours relates, touching a bloody rain seen at Paris in divers 
places, in the days of Childebert, and on a certain house in 
the territory of Seulis; also that which is storied, touching ' 
raining of blood about the end of June, in the days of King 
Robert; so that the blood which fell upon flesh, garments, 
or stones could not be washed out, but that which fell on 
wood might; for it was the same season of Butterflies, and 
experience hath taught us, that no water will wash these 
spots out of the stones, while they are fresh and new. When 
he had said these and such like things to various, a great 
company of auditors being present, it was agreed that they 
should go together and search out the matter, and as they 
went up and down, here and there, through the fields, they 
found many drops upon stones and rocks; but they were 
only on the hollow and under parts of the stones, but not 
upon those which lay most open to the skies. "^ 

This memorable shower of blood was produced by the 
Vanessa urticae, or V. polychloros, most probably, since 
these species of Butterflies are said to have been uncom- 
monly plentiful at the time when, and in the particular dis- 
trict where, the phenomenon was observed.^ ^ 

1 GassencU's Life of Pdreskius, p. 123-5; and Reaumur, i. 638, 667. 

2 Shaw, ZooL, vi. 206. 

2 The origin of red snow has likewise been a puzzle and query for 
ages, and many .theories have been advanced by philosophers and 
naturalists to account for it. To those interested in the solution of 
this phenomenon, the following extract from the Mag. of Nat. Hist., 
vol. ii. p. 322, may be curious, if not satisfactory. Mr. Thomas 
Nicholson, accompanied with two other gentlemen, made an excur- 
sion the 2-lth July, 1821, to Sowallick Point, near Bushman's 
Island, in Prince llegent's Bay, in quest of meteoric iron. "The 
summit of the- hill," he says, "forming the point, is covered with 
huge masses of granite, whilst tlie side, which forms a gentle de- 
clivity to the bay, was covered with crimson snow. It was evident, 
at first view, that this colour was imparted to the snow by a sub- 
stance lying on the surface. Tliis substance lay scattered here and 
there in small masses, bearing some resemblance to powdered cochi- 
neal, surrounded by a lighter shade, which was produced by the 
colouring matter being partly dissolved and diffused by the deli- 


Nicoll, in his Diary, p. 8, informs us that on the 28th of 
May, 1650, "there rained blood the space of three miles in 
the Earl of Bnccleuch's bounds (Scotland), near the Eoglish 
border, which was verefied in presence of the Committee of 

We learn from Fountainhall that on Sunday, May 1st, 
1687, a young woman of noted piety, Janet Fraser by name, 
the daughter of a weaver in the parish of Closeburn, Dum- 
friesshire, went out to the fields with a young female com- 
panion, and sat down to read the Bible not far from her 
father's house. Feeling thirsty, she went to the river-side 
(the Nith) to get a drink, leaving her Bible open at the 
place where she had been reading, which presented the 
verses of the 34th chapter of Isaiah, beginning — "My sword 
shall be bathed in heaven : behold, it shall come down upon 
Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment," 
etc. On returning, she found a patch of something like 
blood covering this very text. In great surprise, she car- 
ried the book home, where a young man tasted the substance 
with his tongue, and found it of a saltless or insipid flavor. 
On the two succeeding Sundays, while the same girl was 
reading the Bible in the open air, similar blotches of matter, 
like blood, fell upon the leaves. She did not perceive it in 
the act of falling till it was about an inch from the book. 
"It is not blood," our informant adds, "for it is as tough as 

quescent snow. During this examination our hats and upper gar- 
ments were observed to be daubed with a substance of a similar 
red colour, and a moment's reflection convinced us that this was the 
excrement of the little Auk ( Uria alle, Temmink), myriads of which 
were continually flying over our heads, having their nests among 
the loose masses of granite. A ready explanation of the origin of 
the red snow was now presented to us, and not a 'doubt remained in 
the mind of any that this was the correct one. The snow on the 
mountains of higher elevation than the nests of these birds was 
perfectly white, and a ravine at a short distance, which was filled 
with snow from top to bottom, but which aiforded no hiding-place 
for these birds to form their nests, presented an appearance uni- 
formly white." 

This testimony seems to be as clear and indisputable as the ex- 
planation given by Peiresc of the ejecta of the Butterflies at Aix. 
But though it will account, perhaps, for the red snow of the polar 
regions, it will not explain that of the Alps, the Apennines, and 
the Pyrenees, which are not, so far as is known, visited by the little 
Auk.— Vide Ins. Tram/., p. 352-5. 

1 Chamb. Domes. Annals of ScoU., ii. 199. 



glue, and will not be scraped off by a knife, as blood will ; 
but it is so like blood, as none can discern any difTereuce by 
the colour."^ 

On Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 1*764, "a. kind of rain of a red 
color, resembling blood, fell in many parts of the Duchy of 
Cleves, which caused great consternation. M. Bouman sent 
a bottle of it to Dr. Schutte, to know if it contained any- 
thing pernicious to health. Something of the like kind fell 
also at Rhenen, in the Province of Utrecht.'" 

Dr. Schutte, to whom was submitted a" bottle of this red 
rain, gave it as his opinion that it was caused by particles 
of red matter, which had been raised into the atmosphere by 
a strong wind, and that it was in no way hurtful to mankind 
or beasts !^ 

In 1819, a red shower fell in Carniola, which, being 
analyzed, says Bucke, was found to be impregnated with 
silex, alumine, and oxide of iron. Red rain fell also at 
Dixmude, in Flanders, November 2d, 1829; and on the fol- 
lowing day at Schenevingen, the acid obtained from which 
was chloric acid, and the metal cobalt.^ 

In the year 1780, Rombeag noticed a shower of blood 
that had excited universal attention, and which he could 
satisfactorily show to be produced by the flying forth and 
casting of bees, as the phenomenon in the place around the 
beehives themselves was remarkably striking. From this 
fact it is evident that the appearance is attributable to other 
insects as well as the lepidoptera.^ 

Bloody rain has also been attributed, with much apparent 
reason, to other causes still, as the following accounts from 
reliable authorities show : 

In 1848, Dr. Eckhard, of Berlin, when attending a case of 
cholera, found potatoes and bread within the house spotted 
with a red coloring matter, which, being forwarded to Eh- 
renberg, was found by him to be due to the presence of an 
animalcule, to which he gave the name of the Jfonas pro- 
digiosa. It was found that other pieces of bread could be 
inoculated with this matter.*^ 

1 Chamb. Domes. Annals of Scotl, ii. 447-8. 

2 Gent. Mag., xxxiv. 496. 

3 Ibid., xxxiv. 542. 

* Bucke on Nature, i. 277. 

5 Brown's Bk. of Butter files, i. 129. 

6 Chaiub. Domes. Annals of Scotl., ii. 448. 


Swammerdam relates that, one morning in 1610, great 
excitement was created in the Hague by a report that the 
lakes and ditches about Leyden were turned to blood. 
Florence Schuyl, the celebrated professor of physic in the 
University of Leyden, went down to the canals, and taking 
home a quantity of this blood-colored matter examined it 
with a microscope, and found that the water was water still, 
and had not at all changed its color ; but that it was full of 
small red animals, all alive and very nimble in their motions, 
the color and prodigious numbers of which gave a reddish 
tinge to the whole body of the water in which they lived. 
The animals which thus color the water of lakes and ponds 
are the Pulices ai^borescentes of Swammerdam, or the 
water fleas with branched horns. These creatures are of a 
reddish yellow or flame color. They live about the sides of 
ditches, under weeds, and among the mud ; and are there- 
fore the less visible, except at a certain time, which is in the 
month of June. It is at this time these little animals leave 
their recesses to float about the water, and meet for the 
propagation of their species; and by this means they be- 
come visible in the color which they give to the water. The 
color in question is visible, more or less, in one part or 
other of almost all standing waters at this season ; and it is 
always at the same season that the bloody waters have 
alarmed the ignorant.^ 

The prodigy, mentioned by Livy, of a stagnating piece 
of water at Mantua appearing as of blood, was no doubt 
owing to the appearance of great numbers of the Pulices 
arborescentes in it.^ 

Concerning the origin of bloody rain, Swammerdam en- 
tertained the same idea as Peiresc ; but he does not appear 

1 Swam. Hist, of Lis., Pt. I. p. 40. 

2 Cf. the foUowiug verses from Ex. vii. 19: <'And the Lobd spake 
unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine 
hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, 
and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they 
may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the 
land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone. 

"20. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and 
he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river in 
the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the 
waters that were in the river were turned to blood." 


to have verified it from his own observation. He makes 
the fo]h)wing; remarks: "Is it not possible that such red 
drops might issue from insects, at the time they come fresh 
from the nymphs, which distil a bloody fluid ? This seems 
to happen especially when such insects are more than ordi- 
narily multiplied in any particular year, as we often expe- 
rience in the butterflies, flies, gnats, and others."^ 

Dust is commonly attributed as the cause of this phe- 
nomenon, but will satisfactorily explain only a few instances. 
A writer for Chambers' Journal, in an article on showers of 
red dust, bloody rain, etc., says : " In October, 1846, a fear- 
ful and furious hurricane visited Lyon, and the district be- 
tween that city and Grenoble, during which occurred a fall 
of blood-rain. A number of drops were caught and pre- 
served, and when the moisture was evaporated, there was 
seen the same kind of dust (as fell in showers in Genoa in 
1846) of a yellowish brown or red color. When placed 
under the microscope, it exhibited a great proportion of 
fresh water and marine formations. Phytolytharia were 
numerous, as also * neatly-lobed vegetable scales;' which, as 
Ehrenberg observes, is sufficient to disprove the assertion 
that the substance is found in the atmosphere itself, and is 
not of European origin. For the first time, a living organ- 
ism was met with, the 'Eunoia amphyoxis, with its ovaries 
green, and therefore capable of life.' Here was a solution 
of the mystery : the dust, mingling with the drops of water 
falling from the clouds, produced the red rain. Its appear- 
ance is that of reddened water, and it cannot be called 
blood-like without exaggeration."^ 

To conclude the history of bloody rain, the following is 
most appropriate : In 1841, some negroes, in Wilson County, 
Tennessee, reported that it had rained blood in the tobacco 
field where they had been at work ; that near noon there 
was a rattling noise like rain or hail, and drops of blood, 
as they supposed, fell from a red cloud that was flying over. 
Prof. Troost, of Nashville, was called upon to explain the 
phenomenon ; and, after citing many instances of red rain, 
red snow, and so called showers of Ijlood, he concluded his 
learned article with this opinion: "A wind might have 

1 Swam. nist. of his. ^ Pt. I. p. 40. 

2 Chamb. Journ., 2d S. xvii. 231. 


taken up part of an animal, which was in a state of decom- 
position, and have brought it in contact with an electric 
cloud, in which it was kept in a state of partial fluidity or 
vicosity. In this case, the cloud which was seen by the ne- 
groes, as the state in which the materials were, is accounted 

Prof. Troost published this profound solution in the forty- 
first volume of Silliman's Journal ; but in the forty-fourth 
of the same magazine a much more satisfactory one is given, 
for it is there stated " that the whole affair was a hoax de- 
vised by the negroes, who pretended to have seen the shower 
for the sake of practicing on the credulity of their masters. 
They had scattered the decaying flesh of a dead hog over 
the tobacco leaves."^ 

Another phenomenon to be particularly noticed in the 
history of the Butterflies, is their appearance at certain 
times in countless numbers migrating from place to place. 
II. Kapp, a writer in the Naturfoi^sch, observed on a calm 
sunny day a prodigious flight of the Cabbage-Butterfly, 
Fontia hrassicde, which passed from northeast to south- 
west, and lasted two hours.^ Kalm, the Swedish traveler, 
saw these last insects midway in the British Channel.^ 
Lindley tells us that in Brazil, in the beginning of March, 
1803, for many days successively there was an immense 
flight of white and yellow Butterflies, probably of the same 
tribe as the Pontia brassicas. They were observed never to 
settle, but proceeded in a direction from northwest to south- 
east. 'No buildings seemed to stop them from steadily pur- 
suing their course ; which being to the ocean, at only a 
small distance, they must all have inevitably perished. It is 
to be remarked that at this time no other kind of Butterfly 
was to be seen, though the country usually abounds in such 
a variety.* 

A somewhat similar migration of Butterflies w^as ob- 
served in Switzerland on the 8th or 10th of June, 1828. 
The facts are as follows : Madame de Meuron Wolff and 
her family, established during the summer in the district of 

1 Sil. Journ., xli. 403-4, and xliv. 216. 

2 JVaiurforsch, xi. 94. 

3 Travels, i. 13. 

^ Royal Milit. Chron. for March, 1815, p. 452. K. and S. Introd. 
ii. 11. 



Grandson, Canton de Yaud, perceived with surprise an im- 
mense flight of Butterflies traversing the garden with great 
rapidity. They were all of the species called Belle Dame 
by the French, and by the English the Painted Lady {Va- 
nessa ca7^dui, Stephens). They were all flying close to- 
gether in the same direction, from south to north, and were 
so little afraid when any one approached, that they turned 
not to the right or to the left. The flight continued for 
two hours without interruption, and the column was about 
ten or fifteen feet broad. They did not stop to alight on 
flowers ; but flew onward, low and equally. This fact is 
the more singular, when it is considered that the larvoe of the 
Vanessa car did are not gregarious, but are solitary from 
the moment they are hatched ; nor are the Butterflies them- 
selves usually found together in numbers. Professor Bo- 
nelli, of Turin, however, observed a similar flight of the 
same species of Butterflies in the end of March preceding 
their appearance at Grandson, when it may be presumed 
they had just emerged from the pupa state. Their flight, 
as at Grandson, was from south to north, and their numbers 
were so immense, that at night the flowers were literally 
covered with them. As the spring advanced, their numbers 
diminished ; but even in June a few still continued. A simi- 
lar flight of Butterflies is recorded about the end of the 
last century by M. Loche, in the Memoirs of the Turin 
Academy. During the whole season, these Butterflies, as 
well as their larvae, were very abundant, and more beautiful 
than usual. ^ 

Pallas once saw such vast flights of the orange-tipped But- 
terfly, Pontia cay^damines, in the vicinity of Winofka, that 
he at first mistook them for flakes of snow.^ At Barbados, 
some days previous to the hurricane in 1780, the trees and 
shrubs were entirely covered with a species of Butterfly of 
the most beautiful colors, so as to screen from the sight the 
branches, and even the trunks of the trees. In the after- 
noon before the gale came on, and when it was quite still, 
they all suddenly disappeared. The gale came on soon 
after.^ Darwin tells us that several times, when the "Beagle" 

1 Mag. of Nat. Hist., i. 387, and Mem. de la Soc. de Phys. et d'llist. 
Nat. de Geiiive. 

2 Penny Mag., 1844, p. 3. 

3 Gent. Mag., liv. 744. 


had been some miles off the month of the Plata, and at other 
times when off the shores of Northern Patagonia, the air 
was filled with insects : that one evening, when the ship was 
about ten miles from the Bay of San Bias, vast numbers of 
Butterflies, in bands or flocks of countless myriads, extended 
as far as the eye could range. The seamen cried out " It 
was raining Butterflies," and such in fact, continues Darwin, 
was the appearance. Several species were in this flock, but 
they were chiefly of a kind very similar to, but not identical 
with, the common English Colias edusa. Some moths and 
hymenopterous insects accompanied the Butterflies ; and a 
fine beetle (Calosoma) flew on board.^ Captain Adams 
mentions an extraordinary flight of small Butterflies, with 
spotted wings, which took place at Annamaboo, on the 
Guinea coast, after a tornado. The wind veered to the 
northward, and blew fresh from the land, with thick mist, 
which brought off from the shore so many of these insects, 
that for one hour the atmosphere was so filled with them as 
to represent a snow-storm driving past the vessel at a rapid 
rate, which was lying at anchor about two miles from the 

Mr. Charles J. Anderson encountered, in South-western 
Africa, for two consecutive days, such immense myriads of 
lemon-colored Butterflies that the sound caused by their 
wings was such as to resemble "the distant murmuring of 
waves on the sea-shore." They always passed in the same 
direction as the wind blew, and, as numbers were constantly 
alighting on the flowers, their appearance at such times was 
not unlike " the falling of leaves before a gentle autumnal 

In Bermuda, October 10, 184T, the Butterfly, Terias lisa 
of Boisduval, suddenly appeared in great abundance, hun- 
dreds being seen in every direction. Previous to that occa- 
sion, Mr. Hurdis, the observer of this flight, had never met 
with this Butterfly. In the course of a few days, they had 
all disappeared.^ 

In Ceylon, in the months of April and May, migrations 
of Butterflies (mostly the Gallidryas hilarias, C. alcmeone, 
and G. pyranthe, with straggling individuals of the genus 

1 Researches, ch. viii. p. 158. 

2 Brown's Bk. of Butter f., p. 101. 

3 Lake Nyami, p. 267. 

* Naturalist in Bermuda, p. 120. 


Euplcea, E. coras, and E. pro(hoe) are quite frequent. 
Their passage is generally in a northeasterly direction. The 
flights of these delicate insects appear to the eye of a white 
or pale yellow hue, and apparently to extend miles in 
breadth, and of such prodigious length as to occupy hours, 
and even days, in their uninterrupted passage. A friend of 
Tennent, traveling from Kandy to Kornegalle, drove for 
nine miles through such a cloud of white Butterflies, which 
was passing across the road by which he went. Whence 
these immense numbers of Butterflies come no one knows, 
and whither going no one can tell. But the natives have a 
superstitious belief that their flight is ultimately directed to 
Adam's Peak, and that their pilgrimage ends on reaching 
that sacred mountain.^ 

Moufet says : "Wert thou as strong as Milo or Hercules, 
and wert fenced or guarded about with an host of giants for 
force and valour, remember that such an army was put to 
the worst by an army of Butterflies flying in troops in the 
air, in the year 1104, and they hid the light of the sun like 
a cloud. Licosthenes relates, that on the third day of Au- 
gust, 1543, that no hearb was left by reason of their multi- 
tudes, and they had devoured all the sweet dew and natural 
moisture, and they had burned up the very grasse that was 
consumed with their dry dung." ^ 

The most beautiful as well as pleasing emblem among the 
Egyptians was exhibited under the character of Psyche — 
the Soul. This was originally no other than a Butterfly : 
but it afterwards was represented as a lovely female child 
with the beautiful wings of that insect. The Butterfly, after 
its first and second stages as an egg and larva, lies for a 
season in a manner dead; and is inclosed in a sort of coffin. 
In this state it remains a shorter or longer period ; but at 
last bursting its bonds, it comes out with new life, and in 
the most beautiful attire. The Egyptians thought this a 
very proper picture of the soul of man, and of the immor- 
tality, to which it aspired. But they made it more particu- 
larly an emblem of Osiris ; who having been confined in an 
oak or coffin, and in a state of death, at last quitted his 
prison, and enjoyed a renewal of life.'^ This symbol passed 

1 Tennent's Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, ch. xii. p. 407. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 107. Topsd's Hist, of Beasts, p. 974. 

3 Bryant's Anct. Mijthol., ii. 386. 


over to the Greeks and Romans, who also considered the 
Butterfly as the symbol of Zephyr.^ 

Among the coats of arms of several of our most celebra- 
ted tribes of Indians, Baron Lahontan mentions one, that 
of the ''Illinese," which bore a beech-leaf with a Butterfly 

The sight of a trio of Butterflies is considered an omen 
of death. ^ An English superstition. 

If a Butterfly enters a house, a death is sure to follow 
shortly in the family occupying it; if it enters through the 
window, the death will be that of an infant or very young 
person. As far as I know this superstition is peculiar to 

If a Butterfly alights upon your head, it foretells good 
news from a distance. This superstition obtains in Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland. 

The first Butterfly seen in the summer brings good luck 
to him who catches it. This notion prevails in New York. 

In Western Pennsylvania, it is believed that if the chrysa- 
lides of Butterflies be found suspended mostly on the under 
sides of rails, limbs, etc., as it were to protect them from 
rain, that there will soon be much rain, or, as it is termed, a 
"rainy spell"; but, on the contrary, if they are found on 
twigs and slender branches, that the weather will be dry and 

Du Halde and Grosier tell us that the Butterflies of the 
mountain of Lo-few-shan, in the province of Quang-tong, 
China, are so much esteemed for their size and beauty, that 
they are sent to court, where they become a part of certain 
ornaments in the palaces. The wings of these Butterflies 
are very large, and their colors surprisingly diversified and 
lively.* Dionysius Kao, a native of China, also remarks, in 
his Geographical Description of that Empire, that the But- 
terflies of Quang-tong are generally sent to the emperor, as 
they fo^m a part of the furniture of the imperial cabinets.^ 

Osbeck says the Chinese put up insects in boxes made 
of coarse wood, without covering, and lined with paper, 

1 Fosbroke, Encycl. of Antiq., ii. 738. 

2 Travels. He doubtless refers to an Indian totem. 
^ N. and Q., iii. 4. 

* Du Halde, China, p. 21-2; Grosier's China, i. 570; Williams' 
3Iid. Kingd., i. 273; Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., iv. 512. 
^ Harris's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 987. 


which they cany round to sell ; each box bringing half a 
piastre. Of tlic Butterflies, which were the principal in- 
sects thus sold, he enumerates twenty-one species.^ 

The Chinese children make Butterflies of paper, with 
which " they play after night by sending them, like kites, 
into the air."^ 

We learn from Captain Stedman, that even in the forests 
of Guiana, some people make Butterfly-catching their busi- 
ness, and obtain much money by it. They collect and 
arrange them in paper boxes, and send them off to the dif- 
ferent cabinets of Europe.^ 

Butterflies are now extensively worn by French and 
American ladies on their head-dresses. 

From the relations of Sir Anthony Shirley, quoted in 
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy,'^ we learn that the kings 
of Persia were wont to hawk after Butterflies with sparrows 
and stares, or starlings, trained for the purpose ; and Ave 
are also told that M. de Luisnes (afterward Prime Min- 
ister of France), in the nonage of Louis XIII. , gained much 
upon him by making hawks catch little birds, and by mak- 
ing some of those little birds again catch Butterflies.^ 

In the Zoological Journal, No. 13, it is recorded that at 
a meeting of the Linn^ean Society, March 11, 1832, Mr. 
Stevens exhibited a remarkable freak of nature in a speci- 
men of Vanessa urtica, which possessed five wings, the 
additional one being formed by a second, but smaller, 
hinder wing on one side.*^ 

J. A. de Mandelsloe, who made a voyage to the East 
Indies in 1639, tells us that not far from the Fort of Ter- 
nate grows a certain shrub, called by the Indians Catopa, 
from which falls a leaf, which, by degrees, is supposed to be 
metamorphosed into a Butterfly^ 

De Pauw tells us that, not long before his time, the 
French peasants entertained a kind of worship for the chry- 
salis of the caterpillar found on the great nettle (the pupa 
of Vanessa cardai?), because they fcincied that it revealed 
evident traces of Divinity ; and quotes M. Des Landes in 

1 Osbeck, Travels, i. 331. 2 ji^i^^ i. 324, 

3 Stedman, Surinam, i. 279. Cf. Bancroft, Guiana, p. 229. 

^ Anat. of Melanch., 1G51, p. 208. 

5 Life of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, p. 134, 

6 The Mirror, xxv. IGO. 

T Harris's Col. of Voy. and Trav., i. 790. 


saying that the curates had even ornamented the altars 
with these pupse.^ 

The Butterfly (Ang. Sax. Buttor-fleoge, or Buter-flege) is 
so named from the common yellow species, or from its ap- 
pearing in the butter season. Its German names are Schmet- 
terliiig, from schmetten, cream ; and Molkendieh, the Whey- 
thief. The association with milk in its three forms, in butter, 
cream, and whey, is remarkable. 

The African ]3ushmen eat the caterpillars of Butterflies ; 
and the Natives of New Holland eat the caterpillars of a 
species of Moth, and also a kind of Butterfly, which they 
call Bugong, which congregates in certain districts, at par- 
ticular seasons, in countless myriads. On these occasions 
the native blacks assemble from far and near to collect them ; 
and after removing the wings and down by stirring them on 
the ground, previously heated by a large fire, winnowing 
them, eat the bodies, or store them up for use, by pounding 
and smoking them. The bodies of these Butterflies abound 
in oil, and taste like nuts. When first eaten, they produce 
violent vomitings and other debilitating eS'ects ; but these 
go off lifter a few days, and the natives then thrive and 
fatten exceedingly on this diet, for which they have to con- 
tend with a black crow, which is also attracted by the Butter- 
flies, and which they dispatch with their clubs and use also 
as food. 

Another practice in Australia is to follow up the flight of 
the Butterflies, and to light fires at nightfall beneath the 
trees in which they have settled. The smoke brings the 
insects down, when their bodies are collected and pounded 
together into a sort of fleshy loaf ^ 

Bennet tells us the larva of a Lepidopterous insect (the 
Bugong f) that destroys the green- wattle {Acacia decar- 
rens) is much sought after, and considered a delicacy, by 
the blacks of Australia. These people eat also the pink 
grubs found in the wattle-trees, either roasted or uncooked. 
Europeans, who have tasted of this dish, say it is not dis- 

Swammerdam, treating of the metamorphoses of larvse 
into pupae and thence into perfect insects, makes the following 

1 Egypt, and Chinese, ii. 106. 

2 Simmoncrs Curios, of Food, p. 312. 

3 Gatherings of a Nat. in Austral., p. 288. 


curious comparison: "The worms, after tlie manner of the 
brides in Holland, shut themselves up for a time, as it were 
to prepare, and render themselves more amiable, when they 
are to meet the other sex in the field of Hymen. "^ 

Sphingidae — Hawk-moths. 

To the superstitious imaginations of the Europeans, the 
conspicuous markings on the back of a large evening moth, 
the Sphinx Atropos, represent the human skull, with the 
thigh-bones crossed beneath ; hence is it called the Death's- 
head Moth, the Death's-head Fhojitom, the Wandering 
Death-bird, etc. Its cry,^ which closely resembles the noise 
caused by the creaking of cork, or the plaintive squeaking 
of a mouse, certainly more than enough to frighten the 
ignorant and superstitious, is considered the voice of anguish, 
the moaning of a child, the signal of grief; and it is regarded 
"not as the creation of a benevolent being, but as the device 

1 Hist, of Ins., p. 3. 

2 Reaumur considers this cry to be produced by the friction of the 
palpi against the proboscis [Memoires, ii. 293). Huber, but without 
mentioning the particulars, says he has ascertained that Reaumur 
was quite mistaken [On Bees, p. 313, note), Schroeter ascribes the 
sound to the rubbing of the tongue against the head; and Rosel to 
the friction of the chest upon the abdomen, M. de Johet tliinks it 
is produced by the air being suddenly propelled against these scales 
by the action of the wings. M. Lori-y states that the sound arises 
from the air escaping rapidly through peculiar cavities communica- 
ting with the spiracles, and furnished with a fine tuft of hairs on the 
sides of the abdomen (Cuv. An. Kingd. — Ins., ii. G78). Mr. E. L. 
Layard seems to be of the same opinion (Tennent's Nat. Hist, of 
Ceylon, -p. 427). But M. Passerini, curator of the Museum of Nat. 
Hist, at Florence, has lately investigated the subject more minutely. 
He traced the origin of the sound to the interior of the head, in 
which he discovered a cavity at the passage where muscles are placed 
for impelling and expelling the air. M. Dumeril has since discovered 
a sort of membrane stretched over this cavity, like, as he says, to the 
head of a drum. M. Duponchel has also confirmed by experimeut 
the opinions of Passerini and Dumeril, and confutes Lorry, whose 
notion was generally adopted, by stating that the noise is produced 
from the head when the body of the insect is removed [Annates dcs 
Sci. Nat, Mars., 1828). 



of evil spirits" — spirits, enemies to man, conceived and 
fabricated in the dark ; and the very shining of its eyes is 
supposed to represent the fiery element whence it is thought 
to have proceeded. Flying into their apartments in the 
evening, it at times extinguishes the light, foretelling war, 
pestilence, famine, and death to man. The sudden appear- 
ance of these insects, vi^e are informed by Latrielle, during 
a season while the people were suffering from an epidemic 
disease, tended much to confirm the notions of the supersti- 
tious in that district, and the disease was attributed by them 
entirely to their visitation.^ Jaeger says, at a very recent 
day, that this large Moth first attracted his "attention during 
the prevalence of a severe and fatal epidemic, and of course 
nothing more was necessary than its appearance at such a 
time to induce an ignorant people to believe it the veritable 
prophet and forerunner of death. A curate in Bretagne, 
France," continues this author, "made a most horrible and 
fear-exciting description of this animal, describing the very 
loud and dreadful sound which it emitted as a sort of lam- 
entation for the awful calamity which was coming on the 
earth. "^ Eeaumur informs us that all the members of a 
female convent in France were thrown into the greatest 
consternation at the appearance of one of these insects, which 
happened to fly in during the evening at one of the windows 
of the dormitory.^ 

In the Isle of France, the natives believe that the dust 
(scales) cast from the wings of the Death's-head Moth, in 
flying through an apartment, is productive of blindness to 
the visual organs on which it falls.* 

There is a quaint superstition in England that the Death's- 
head Moth has been very common in Whitehall ever since 
the martyrdom of Charles I.^ 

Illustrative of the tough texture of the skin with which 
many soft larv^ are provided for protection, the following 
may be instanced : Bonnet squeezed under water the cater- 
pillar of the privet Hawk-moth, Sphinx ligustris, till it 
was as flat and empty as the finger of a glove, yet within an 

1 Cf. Penny Enajcl., sub. Sphinx, and The Mirror, xix. 212, 

'^ Hist of Ins., p. 191. 

3 Reaumur, ii. 289. Shaw, ZooL, vi. 217. 

* Saturday Mag., xix. 102. 

5 Notes and Queries, xii. 200. 



hour it became plump and lively as if nothing had hap- 

The name Sphinx is applied to this genus of insects from 
a fancied resemblance between the attitude assumed by the 
larva) of several of the larger species, when disturbed, and 
that of the Egyptian Sphinx. 

Bombicidse — Silk-worm Moths. 

The notices of the cultivation of the mulberry and the 
rearing of Silk-Avorms, found in Chinese works, have been 
industriously collected and published by M. Julien, by or- 
der of the French government. From his work it appears 
that credible notices of the culture of the tree and the manu- 
facture of silk are found as far back as B.C. 780; and in 
referring its invention to the Empress Siling, or Yuenfi, 
wife of the Emperor Hwangti, B.C. 2602 (Du Halde says 
2698), the Chinese have shown their belief of its still higher 
antiquity. The Shi King contains this distich : 

The legitimate wife of Hwangti, named Siling Shi, began to rear 

Silk- worms: 
At this period Hwangti invented the art of making clothing. 

Du Halde says this invention raised the Empress to the 
rank of a divinity, under the title of Spirit of the Silk- 
worm, and of the Mulberry-tree.^ 

The Book of Kites contains a notice of the festival held 
in honor of this art, which corresponds to that of plowing by 
the emperor. "In the last month of spring, the young em- 
press purified herself and offered sacrifice to the goddess of 
Silk-worms. She went into the eastern fields and collected 
mulberry-leaves. She forbade noble dames and the ladies 
of statesmen adorning themselves, and excused her attend- 
ants from their sewing and embroidery, in order that they 
might give all their care to the rearing of Silk-worms."^ 

^ Bonnet, (Euvres, ii. 124. 

2 China, p. 253. Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., iv. 138. 

' Williams' Middle Kingdom, ii. 121-2. 


The manufacture of silk has been known in India from 
time immemorial, it being mentioned in the oldest Sanscrit 
books.^ It is the opinion of modern writers, however, that 
the culture of the Silk- worm passed from China into India, 
thence through Persia, and then, after the lapse of several 
centuries, into Europe. But long before this, wrought silk 
had been introduced into Greece from Persia. This was 
effected by the army of Alexander the Great, about the 
year 323 before Christ. 

The Greeks fabled silk to have first been woven in the 
Island of Cos by Pamphila, the daughter of Plateos.^ Of 
its true origin they were, in a great measure, ignorant, but 
seem to have been positive that it was the work of an in- 
sect. Pausanias thus describes the animal and its culture: 
"But the thread, from which the Ceres (an Ethiopian race) 
make garments, is not produced from a tree, but is procured 
by the following method : A worm is found in their country 
which the Greeks call Seer, but the Ceres themselves, by a dif- 
ferent name. This worm is twice as large as a beetle, and, in 
other respects, resembles spiders which weave under trees. 
It has, likewise, eight feet as well as the spider. The 
Ceres rear these insects in houses adapted for this purpose 
both to summer and winter. What these insects produce 
is a slender thread, which is rolled round their feet. They 
feed them for four years on oatmeal ; and on the fifth (for 
'they do not live beyond five years) they give them a green 
reed to feed on : for this is the sweetest of all food to this 
insect. It feeds, therefore, on this till it bursts through 
fullness, and dies : after which, they draw from its bowels 
a great quantity of thread."^ 

Aristotle seems to have had a much clearer idea of the 
origin of silk, for he says it was unwound from the pupa 
(he does not expressly say the pupa, but this we must 
suppose) of a large horned caterpillar.* The larva he means 
could not, however, be the common Silk-worm, since it is 
rather small and without horns. 

Pliny, who, most probably, obtained the most of his ideas 
from Pausanias and Aristotle, was of opinion that silk was 

1 Colebrook, Asiat. RcsPMrch., v. Gl. 

2 Aristotle, v. 17-9. Pliny, ix. 20. 

3 Paus. Hist, of Greece, B. 6, c. 26. 
* Aristot. Hist. An., v. 19. 


the produce of a worm which built clay -nests and collected 
wax. At first these worms, he says, assume the appear- 
ance of small butterflies with naked bodies, but soon after, 
being unable to endure the cold, they throw out bristly 
hairs, which assume quite a thick coat against the winter, 
by rubbing off the down that covers the leaves, by the aid 
of the roughness of their feet. This they compress into 
balls by carding it with their claws, and then draw it out 
and hang it between the branches of the trees, making it 
fine by combing it out, as it were : last of all, they take and 
roll it round their body, thus forming a nest in which they 
are enveloped. It is in this state that they are taken ; after 
which they are placed in earthen vessels in a warm place, 
and fed upon bran. A peculiar sort of down soon shoots 
forth upon the body, on being clothed with which they are 
sent to work upon another task.^ 

The first kinds of silk dresses worn by the Koman ladies 
were from the Island of Cos, and, as Pliny says, were known 
by the name of Coae vestes.^ These dresses, of which Pliny 
says in such high praise, "that while they cover a woman, 
they at the same time reveal her charms," were indeed so 
fine as to be transparent, and were sometimes dyed purple, 
and enriched with stripes of gold. They had their name 
from the early reputation which Cos acquired by its manu- 
facture of silk. But silk was a very scarce article among 
the Romans for many ages, and so highly prized as to be 
valued at its weight in gold. Yospicius informs us that 
the Emperor AureKan, who died a.d. 125, refused his em- 
press a robe of silk, which she earnestly solicited, merely on 
account of its dearness. Galen, who lived about a.d. HS, 
speaks of the rarity of silk, being nowhere then but at Rome, 
and there only among the rich. Heliogabalus is said to 
have been the first Roman that wore a garment entirely of 

We learn from Tacitus, that early in the reign of Tiberius, 
about A.D. IT, the Senate enacted ''that men should not 
defile themselves by wearing garments of silk. "^ Pliny says, 
however, that in his time men had become so degenerate as 

1 Pliny, Ifat. Hist, xi. 23. 

2 Ibid., xi. 22. 

3 Tacitus, Ann., B. 2, c. 33. 


to not even feel ashamed to wear garments of this mate- 

The mode of producing and manufacturing silk was not 
known to Europe until long after the Christian era, being 
first learned about the year 555 by two Persian monks, who, 
under the encouragement of the Emperor Justinian, pro- 
cured in India the eggs of the Silk-worm Moth, with which, 
concealing them in hollow canes, they hastened to Con- 
stantinople. They also brought with them instructions for 
hatching the eggs, rearing and feeding the worms, and 
drawing, spinning, and working the silk.'^ 

Erom Constantinople, the culture of the Silk-worm spread 
over Greece, so that in less than five centuries that portion 
of this country, hitherto called the Peloponnesus, changed 
its denomination into that of Morea, from the immense 
plantations of the Morus alba, or white mulberry.^ Large 
manufactories were set up at Athens, Thebes, and Corinth. 
The Yenetians, soon after this, commencing a commerce 
with the Grecians, supplied all the western parts of Europe 
with silks for many centuries. Several kinds of modern 
silk manufiictures, such as damasks, velvets, satins, etc., 
were as yet unknown. 

About the year 1130, Roger II., King of Sicily, having 
conquered the Peloponnesus, transported the Silk-worms 
and such as cultivated them to Palermo and to Calabria. 
Such was the success of the speculation in Calabria, that it 
is doubtful whether, even at the present moment, it does not 
produce more silk than the whole of the rest of Italy.* 

By degrees the rest of Italy, as well as Spain, learned 
from the Sicilians and Calabrians the management of Silk- 
worms and the working of silk; and at length, during the 
wars of Charles VIII., in 1499, the French acquired it, by 
right of neighborhood, and soon large plantations of the 
mulberry were raised in Provence. Henry I. is reported 

1 Nat. Hist, xi. 22. 

2 Cf. Gibbon's Decl. and Fall of Rom. Em., c. 40. 

3 Some authors, however, assert that the name-was suggested by 
the resemblance of the Morea to the shape of the mulberry-leaf, a 
less plausible opinion by far than the former. 

* Thuanus, in contradiction to most other writers, makes the manu- 
facture of silk to be introduced into Sicily two hundred years later, 
by Robert the Wise, King of Sicily and Count of Provence. 



to Lave been the first French king who wore silk stockings. 
The invention, however, originally came from Spain, 
whence silk stockings were brought over to England to 
Henry YIII. and Edward YI. 

It is stated, that at the celebration of the marriage between 
Margaret, daughter of Henry III., and Alexander III. of 
Scotland, in the year 1251, a most extravagant display of 
magnificence was made by one thousand English knights 
appearing in suits of silk. It appears also l)y the 33d of 
Henry YI., cap. 5, that there was a company of silk- 
women in England as early as the year 1455 ; but these 
were probably employed rather in embroidering and making 
small haberdasheries, than in the broad manufacture, which 
was not introduced till the year 1620. 

Sir Thomas Gresham, in a letter to Sir William Cecil, 
Elizabeth's great minister, dated Antwerp, April 30th, 
1560, says : "I have written into Spain for silk hose both 
for you and my lady, your wife, to whom, it may please 
you, I ma}^ be remembered." These silk hose, of a black 
color, were accordingly soon after sent by Gresham to 

Hose were, in England, up to the time of Henry YIII., 
made out of ordinary cloth : the .King's own were formed 
of yard-wide taffata. It was only by chance that he might 
obtain a pair of silk hose from Spain. His son, Edward YI., 
received as a present from Sir Thomas Gresham — Stow 
speaks of it as a great present — "a pair of long Spanish 
silk stockings." For some years longer, silk stockings 
continued to be a great rarity. "In the second year of 
Queen Elizabeth," says Stow, "her silk- woman, Mistress 
Montague, presented her Majesty with a pair of black knit- 
silk stockings for a New-Year's gift; the which, after a few 
days' wearing, i^leased her Highness so well, that she sent 
for Mistress Montague, and asked her where she had them, 
and if she could help her to any more ; who answered, say- 
ing, 'I made them very carefully, of purpose only for your 
Majesty, and, seeing these please you so well, I will pres- 
ently set more iji hand.' *Do so,' quoth the Queen, 'for 
indeed I like silk stockings so well, because they are pleas- 
ant, fine, and delicate, that henceforth I will wear no more 

Burgon's Life of Sir Thomas Gresham, 1839, i. 110, 302. 


clotli stockings.' And from that time to her death the 
Queen never wore cloth hose, but only silk stockings."^ 

James I., while King of Scotland, is said to have once 
written to the Earl of Mar, one of his friends, to borrow a 
pair of silk stockings, in order to appear with becoming 
dignity before the English Ambassador ; concluding his 
letter with these words: ''For ye would not, sure, that 
your King should appear like a scrub before strangers." 
This shows the great rarity of silk articles at that period 
in Scotland. 

In 1629, the manufacture of silk was become so consider- 
able in London, that the silk trowstersof the city and parts 
adjacent were incorporated; and in 1661, this company em- 
ployed above forty thousand persons. The revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, contributed in a great degree 
to promote the manufacture of this article ; and the inven- 
tion of the silk-throwing machine at Derby, in 1719, added 
so much to the reputation of English manufactures, that 
even in Italy, according to Keysler, the English silks bore 
a higher price than the Italian. ^ 

Rev. Stephen Olin tells us that the Mohammedans of 
Arabia will not allow strangers to look into their cocoon- 
eries, on account of their superstitious fear of the evil eye, 
of the influence of which the Silk- worms are thought to be 
peculiarly susceptible.^ 

The silk of the nests of the social caterpillar of the 
Bomhyx Madrona, was an object of commerce in Mexico in 
the time of Montecusuma; and the ancient Mexicans pasted 
together the interior layers, which may be written upon 
without preparation, to form a white, glossy pasteboard. 
Handkerchiefs are still manufactured of it in the Intendency 
of Oaxaca.* 

A complete nest of these Silk-worms, called in Brazil 
sustillo, was sent by the Academy of Sciences and Natural 
History to the King of Spain. The naturalist, Don Antonio 
Pineda, sent also a piece of this natural silk paper, measuring 
a yard and a half, of an elliptical shape, which, however, is 
peculiar to them all.^ 

1 Stow's Chronicle, edit. 1631, p. 887. 

2 Keysler, Trav., i. 289. 

3 Olin, Travels. 

* Polit. Essay on N. Spain, iii. 59. 

5 Skinner's Fres. Slate of Peru, p. 346, note. Southey's Hist, of 
Brazil, iii. 644. Calancha's Augustine Hist, of Peru, i. 66. 


The Chinese fix on rings with threads the females of two 
species of wild Bomhijx, whose caterpillars produce silk, 
and place these insects on a tree, or on some body situated 
in the open air, to allow the males, guided by their scent, to 
visit them.^ 

''The manner of the Chinese is," we read in Purchas's 
Pilgrims, "in the Spring time to revive the Silke-worms 
(that lye dead all the Winter) by laying them in the warme 
sunne, and (to hasten their quickening, that they may sooner 
goe to worke) to put them into bagges, and so hang them 
under their childrens armes."^ 

In China, the pupa3 of the Silk-worms after the silk is 
wound ofi", and the larvae of a species of Sphinx-moth, 
furnish articles for the table, and are considered delicacies.^ 
The natives of Madagascar, who eat all kinds of insects, 
consider also Silk-worms a great luxury.* 

Aldrovandus states that the German soldiers sometimes 
fry and eat Silk-worms.^ 

Dr. James says : " Silk-worms dried, and reduced to a 
powder, are, by some, applied to the crown of the head for 
removing vertigos and convulsions. The silk, and case or 
coat, are of a due temperament between heat and cold, and 
corroborate and recruit the vital, natural, and animal 
spirits."*^ The cocoons are also the basis of Goddard's 
Drops, and enter into several other compositions, such as 
the Gonfectio de Hyacintho, when made in the best manner.^ 

With respect to the coloring of silk, we find in " Tseen 
Tse Wan," or thousand character classic, a work that has 
been a school-book in China for the last 1200 years, that an 
ancient sage by the name of Mih, seeing the white silk col- 
ored, wept on account of its original purity being destroyed.^ 

Some of the eggs of a wild species of Silk-worm being 
sent overland from China to Paris, proved a source of con- 
siderable anxiety to different parties who received them 
during the transit, the instructions on the box, instead of 

, 1 Cuvier, An. King. — Ins.^ ii. 634. 

2 nigrims, iii. 442. 

3 Darwin, Phytolog., p. 364. Donovan's Ins. of China, p. 6. 
* Hollman, Travels, p. 473. 

5 Donovan's Ins. of China, p. 6. 

6 Med. Diet. 

■^ Geoifroy, Treat, on Subst. used in Physic, p. 383. 
8 Twelve Years in China, p. 14. 


simply stating that it contained the eggs of the wild Silk- 
worm Moth, was couched in the following manner by the 
Trench savant who forwarded them : " Must be kept far from 
the engines ; this box contains savage worms. "^ 

About twenty-five years ago, during a mania for rearing 
Silk-worms, to meet the demand for the eggs of these in- 
sects, fish-spawn was distributed throughout the country. 
The humbug was quite as successful as it was curious. 

It has been said that the search after the " Golden Fleece" 
may be ascribed to the desire to obtain silk.'^ 

As a protection against rifle-balls, the Chinese, who were 
engaged in the rebellion of 1853, state that they wore 
dresses thickly padded with floss silk ; they said that while 
the ball had a twist in it, revolving in its course, it caught 
up the silk and fastened itself in the garment. One man 
declared that he took out six so caught, in one day, after a 
severe fight. They said the dress was of more use within a 
hundred yards than at long range, when the ball had lost 
its revolving motion.^ 

Yaucanson, the inventor of the famous " automaton duck," 
to revenge himself upon the silk-weavers of Lyons, who had 
stoned him because he attempted to simplify the ordinary 
loom, is said to have invented a loom on which a donkey 
worked silken cloth.* 

The following curious Welsh epigram on the Silk-worm 
is composed entirely of vowels, and can be recited without 
closing or moving lips or teeth ; 

O'i wiw wy i e a, a'i weuaw 
O'i wyau y weua ; 
E' weua ei wi aia', 
A'i weuau yw ieuau ia. 

I perish by my art ; dig mine own grave; 
I spin the thread of life ; my death I weave. ^ 

1 Twelve Years in China, p. 14. 2 md^ 

3 Ihid., p. 194. 

* Memoires of Roht. Iloudin, p. 161, 

^ Mag. of Nat. Hist, vi. 9. 


Arctiidae — Wooly-bear Moths. 

In It 83, the larvae of the Moth, Arctia chrysorrhcea, 
were so destructive in the neighborhood of London that 
subscriptions were opened to employ the poor in cutting off 
and collecting the webs ; and it is asserted that not less than 
eighty bushels were collected and burnt in one day in the 
parish of Clapham. And even in some places prayers were 
offered up in the churches to avert the calamities of which 
they were supposed by the ignorant to be the forerunner.^ 

If a caterpillar spins its cocoon in a house, it foretells its 
desolation by death ; if in your clothes, it warns you you 
will wear a shroud before the year is out. This supersti- 
tion obtains in the Middle States, Virginia, and Maryland. 

If Moths, flying in a candle, put it out, it forebodes a 
calamity amounting to almost death. This superstition is 
pretty general. 

Why Moths fly in a candle : Kempfer tells us, there is 
found in Japan an insect, which, by reason of its incompar- 
able beauty, is kept by the Japanese ladies among the curi- 
osities of their toilets. He calls it a Night-fly, and describes 
it as being ''about a finger long, slender, round-bodied, with 
four wings, two of which are transparent and hid under a 
pair of others, which are shining as it were polished, and 
most curiously adorned with blue and golden lines and spots." 
The following little fable, which accounts so beautifully for 
the flying of Moths in a candle, owes its origin to the unpar- 
alleled beauty of this insect, and is well worthy of being 
preserved : The Japanese say that all other Night-flies 
(Moths, etc.) fall in love with this particular one, who, to 
get rid of their importunities, maliciously bids them, under 
the pretense of trying their constancy, to go and bring to 
her fire. And the blind lovers, scrupling not to obey her 
command, fly to the nearest fire or candle, in which they 
never fail to burn themselves to death. ^ 

The following verses, embodying the above fable (except 
in several minor particulars) are from the pen of Mrs. A. L. 
Ruter Dufour: 

1 Baird's Fncycl. of Nat. Set. Shaw's Zool, vi. 229. 

2 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. arid Trav., vii. 705. 


One summer niglit, says a legend old, 

A Moth a Firefly sought to woo : 
"Oh, wed me, I pray, thou bright star-child, 

To win thee there's nothing I'd dare not do." 

"If thou art sincere," the Firefly cried, 

" Go — bring me a light that will equal my own ; 

Not until then will I deign be thy bride ;" — 
Undaunted the Moth heard her mocking tone. 

Afar he beheld a brilliant torch, 

Forward he dashed, on rapid wing, 
Into the light to bear it hence ; — 

When he fell a scorched and blighted thing. — 

Still ever the Moths in hope to win. 
Unheeding the lesson, the gay Firefly, 

Dash, reckless, the dazzling torch within, 
And, vainly striving, fall and die ! 

Washington, D. C, June 24, 1864. 

Moufet savs : "Our North, as well as our West coun- 
trymen, call it (the Moth, Phalaina) Saule, i. e. Psychen, 
Animam, the soul ; because some silly people in old time 
did fancy that the souls of the dead did fly about in the 
night seeking light. "^ "Pliny commends a goat's liver to 
drive them away, yet he shews not the means to use it."^ 

One of the most highly prized curiosities in the collec- 
tion of Horace Walpole, was the silver bell with which the 
popes used to curse the caterpillars. This bell was the 
work of Benvenuto Cellini, one of the most extraordinary 
men of his extraordinary age, and the relievos on it repre- 
senting caterpillars, butterflies, and other insects, are said 
to have been wonderfully executed.^ 

In Purchas's Pilgrims, we read of worms being sprinkled" 
with holy water to kill them.'' 

Apuleius says, that if you take the caterpillars from 
another garden, and boil them in water with anethum, and 
let them cool, and besprinkle the herbs, you will destroy 
the existing caterpillars.^ 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 88. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 958. 

2 Moufet, p. 108. Topsel, p. 975. 

3 Monthly Mag., 7 (Pt. I.) xxxix. 1799. 
* Pilgrims, ii. 1034. 

^ Owen's Geoponika, ii. 99. 


Pliny says, that " if a woDian having a catamenia strips 
herself naked, and walks round a field of wheat, the cater- 
pillars, worms, beetles, and other vermin, will fall off the 
ears of the grain!" This important discovery, according 
to Metrodurus of Scepsos, was first made in Cappadocia ; 
Avhere, in consequence of such multitudes of " Cantharides" 
being found to breed there, it was the practice for women to 
walk through the middle of the fields with their garments 
tucked up above the thighs.^ Columella^ has described this 
practice in verse, and ^lian^ also mentions it. Pliny says 
further that in other places, again, it is the usage of women 
to go barefoot, with the hair disheveled and the girdle loose : 
due precaution, however, he seriously observes, must be 
taken that this is not done at sunrise, for if so the crop will 
wither and dry up.* Apuleius,^ Columella,^ and Palladius^ 
relate the same story. Constantinus, likewise, whose verses, 
as translated in Moufet's Theater of Insects, are as fol- 
lows : 

But if against this plague no art prevail, 
The Trojan arts will do't, when others fail. 
A woman barefoot with her hair untied, 
And naked breasts must walk as if she cried, 
And after Venus' sports she must surround 
Ten times, the garden beds and orchard ground. 
When she hath done, 'tis wonderful to see, 
The caterpillars fall off from the tree, 
As fast as drops of rain, when with a crook, 
For acorns or apples the tree is shook. ^ 

This remarkable superstitious remedy for destroying 
caterpillars was frequently practiced by the Indians of 
America. Schoolcraft, treating of the peculiar supersti- 
tions connected with the menstrual lodge of these people, 
says : 

"This superstition does not alone exert a malign influ- 
ence, or spell, on the human species. Its ominous power, 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxviii. 7 (23). 

2 Col. B. X. 

3 /Elian, B. xi. c. 3. 

* Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxviii. 7 (23). 

^ Vide Owen's Geoponlka, ii. 99. 

6 Col. In Hort., v. 357. 

T Pallad. B. i. c. 35. 

8 Theair. Ins., p. 193. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1041 and 670. 


or charm, is equally effective on the animate creation, at 
least on those species which are known to depredate on 
their little fields and gardens. To cast a protective spell 
around these, and secure the fields against vermin, insects, 
the sciurus, and other species, as well as to protect the 
crops against blight, the mother of the family chooses a 
suitable hour at night, when the children are at rest and 
the sky is overcast, and having completely divested herself 
of her garments, trails her machecota behind her, and per- 
forms the circuit of the little field. "^ 

The fat of bears, says Topsel, "some use superstitiously 
beaten with oil, wherewith they anoynt their grape-sickles 
when they go to vintage, perswading themselves that if 
nobody know thereof, their tender vine-branches shall never 
be consumed by caterpillars. Others attribute this to the 
vertue of bears' blood. "^ 

Nicander used ''a caterpillar to procure sleep: for so he 
writes ; and Hieremias Martins thus translates him : 

Stamp but with oyl those worms that eat the leaves, 
Whose backs are painted with a greenish hue, 

Anoint jonv body with 't, and whilst that cleaves. 
You shall with gentle sleep bid cares adieu. "^ 

Of a caterpillar that feeds upon cabbage leaves, the 
Eruca officinalis of Schroder, Dr. James says : ** Bruised, 
or a powder of them, raise a blister like cantharides, and 
take off the skin. Moufet says, they will cause the teeth 
to fall out of their sockets, and Hippocrates writes, that 
they are good for a Quinsey."* 

Psychidae — Wood-carryings Moth, etc. 

The larvae of the Wood-carrying Moth (of the genus 
Oiketicus, ovEumeta, Wlk.) of Ceylon, surround themselves 
with case^made of stems of leav^, and thorns or pieces of 

1 Hist, of Indians of U. S., v. p. 70. 

2 Rist. of Beasts, p. 30. 

3 Moufet, I'heair. Lis., p. 194. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, pp. 670, 

* Med. Did. 



twigs bound together by threads, till the whole resembles a 
miniature Roman fasces ; in fact, an African species of these 
insects has obtained the name of " Lictor." The Germans 
have denominated the group Sacktrdger, and the Singhalese 
call them Darra-kattea or "billets of lire-wood," and regard 
the inmates, Tennent says, as human beings, who, as a pun- 
ishment for stealing wood in some former state of exist- 
ence, have been condemned to undergo a metempsychosis 
under the form of these insects.^ 

Noctuidae — Antler-moth, Cut-worm, etc. 

The Antler-moth, Noctua graminis, Linn., has been par- 
ticularly observed in Sweden, Norway, Northern Germany, 
and even in Greenland, where it does great mischief to 
grass-plots and meadows. It is recorded to have done 
very great injury in the eastern mountains of Georgenthal, 
as well as at Toplitz in Bohemia, where larvae Avere in such 
large numbers that in four days and a half 200 men found 
23 bushels of them, or 4,500,000 in the 60 bushels of mould 
which they examined. In Germany it seems to be con- 
fined to high and dry districts, and it never appears there 
in wet meadows, but its devastations are sometimes most 
extensive, as happened in the Hartz territor}^ in 1816 and 
'1*7, when whole hills that in the evening were clad in the 
finest green, were brown and bare the following morning; 
and such vast numbers of the caterpillars w^ere there that 
the ruts of the roads leading to the hills were full of them, 
and the roads being covered with them were even rendered 
slippery and dirty b}^ their being crushed in some places.^ 

The notorious astrologer, William Lilly, alluding to the 
comet which appeared in 16*7t, says: ''AH comets signify 
wars, terrors, and strange events in the world;" and gives 
the following curious explanation of the prophetic nature of 
these bodies : " The spirits, well knowing what accidents 
shall come to pass, do form a star or comet, and give it 

1 Tennent, Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, p, 431. 

2 Kollar's Treat, on Ins., Lond. Trans., p. 105-36. Curtis's Farm 
Insects, p. 507. 


what figure or shape they please, and cause its motion 
through the air, that people might behold it, and thence 
draw a signification of its events." Further, a comet ap- 
pearing in the Taurus portends "mortality to the greater 
part of cattle, as horses, oxen, cows, etc.," and also "pro- 
digious shipwrecks, damage in fisheries, monstrous floods, 
and destruction of fruit by caterpillars and other vermin."^ 

Josselyn, in the account of his voyage to New England, 
printed in London in 16 1 4, has the following relation of an 
insect which is doubtless a species of Agrotis, probably the 
Agrotis telifera: "There is also (in New England) a dark 
dunnish Worm or Bug of the bigness of an Oaten-straw, 
and an inch long, that in the Spring lye at the Root of 
Corn and Garden plants all day, and in the night creep out 
and devour them ; these in some years destroy abundance 
of Indian Corn and Garden plants, and they have but one 
way to be rid of them, which the English have learned of 
the Indians ; And because it is somewhat strange, I shall 
tell you how it is, they go out into a field or garden with a 
Birchen-dish, and spudling the earth about the roots, for 
they lye not deep, they gather their dish full which may 
contain a quart or three pints, then they carrie the dish to 
the Sea-side when it is ebbing water and set it a swimming, 
the water carrieth the dish into the Sea, and within a day 
or two you go into your field you may look your eyes out 
sooner than find any of them."^ 

The Army-worm (larva of Leucania unipunctata of 
Ha worth), during this our great rebellion, is thought, by 
many persons in Western Pennsylvania, to prognosticate 
the success or defeat of our armies by the direction it travels. 
If toward the North, the South will be victorious; and if 
toward the South, the North will conquer. An old gentle- 
man, who believes that a frog's foot drawn in chalk above 
the door will keep away witches, tells me this worm invari- 
ably travels southward. 

This larva was noticed but a few years before the war 
began, and then appearing, as it were, in armies, it was 
called the Army-worm. The superstitious omen from it 
has followed not preceded the name. 

Lindenbrog, in his Codex Legum Antiquarum, cum 

1 Lilly's Prophetical Merliii, pub. in 1644. 

2 Josselyn's Vov., p. 116. 


Glossario, fol. Francof. 1613, mentions the following super- 
stition : " The peasants, in many places in Germany, at the 
feast of St. John, bind a rope around a stake drawn from a 
hedge, and drive it hither and thither, till it catches fire. 
This they carefully feed with stubble and dry wood heaped 
together, and they spread the collected ashes over their pot- 
herbs, confiding in vain superstition, that by this means 
they can drive away Canker-worms. They therefore call 
this Nodfeur, q. necessary fire^ 

These fires were condemned as sacrilegious, not as if it 
had been thought that there was anything unlawful in 
kindling a fire in this manner, but because it was kindled 
with a superstitious design. They are, however, Du Cange 
saj^s, still kindled in France, on the eve of St. John's day.^ 

Geometridse — Span-worms. 

The Measuring-worm, crawling on your clothes, is 
thought to foretell a new suit; on your hands, a pair of 
gloves, etc. 

Tineidse — Clothes'-moth, Bee-moth, etc. 

In Newton's Journal of the Arts for December, 182Y, 
there is the following mention of a new kind of cloth fabri- 
cated by insects : The larvce of the Moth, Tinea punctata, 
or T. padilla, have been directed by M. Habenstreet, of 
Munich, so as to work on a paper model suspended from a 
ceiling of a room. To this model he can give any form and 
dimensions, and he has thus been enabled to obtain square 
shawls, an air balloon four feet high, and a woman's com- 
plete robe, with the sleeves, but without seams. One or 
two larva? can weave a square inch of cloth. A great num- 
ber are, of course, employed, and their motions are inter- 
dicted from the parts of the model not to be covered, by 
oiling them. The cloth exceeds in fineness the lightest 

1 Jamieson's Scot. Diet., ii, 144. 




gauze, and has been worn as a robe over her court dress by 
the Queen of Bavaria.^ 

Authors are of opinion that the ancients possessed some 
secret for preserving garments from the Moth, Tinia tajDet- 
zella. We are told the robes of Servius Tullius were found 
in perfect preservation at the death of Sejanus, an interval 
of more than five hundred years. Pliny gives as a precau- 
tion "to lay garments on a coffin;" others recommend "can- 
tharides hung up in a house, or wrapping them in a lion's 
skin" — "the poor little insects," says Reaumur, "being 
probably placed in bodily fear of this terrible animal."^ 

Moufet says : "They that sell woollen clothes use to wrap 
up the skin of a bird called the king's-fisher among them, 
or else hang one in the shop, as a thing by a secret antipa- 
thy that Moths cannot endure."^ 

Among the various contrivances resorted to as a safe- 
guard against the Bee-moth, Galleria cereana, Fabricius, 
perhaps the most ingenious is that, mentioned by Lang- 
stroth, of "governing the entrances of all the hives by a 
long lever-like hen-roost, so that they may be regularly 
closed by the crowing and cackling tribe when they go to 
bed at night, and opened again when they fly from their 
perch to greet the merry morn."* 

An intelligent man informed Langstroth that he paid ten 
dollars to a "Bee-quack" professing to have an infallible 
secret for protecting Bees against the Moth ; and, after the 
quack had departed with his money, learned that the secret 
consisted in "always keeping strong stocks."^ 

1 Maff. of Nat. Hist., i. 66. 

2 Harper's New Monthly Mag., xxii. 41. 

3 Theair. Ins., p. 274. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1100. 

4 On the Honey-Bee, p. 248. 
^ Ibid., p. 238, note. 




Cicadidae — Harvest-flies. 

The Cicadas, G. plebeja, Linn., called by the ancient 
Greeks, (by whom, as well as by the Chinese, they were kept 
in cages for the sake of their song,) Teltix, seem to have been 
the favorites of every Grecian bard, from Homer and He- 
siod to Anacreon and Theocritus. Supposed to be per- 
fectly harmless, and to live only upon dew, they were ad- 
dressed by the most endearing epithets, and were regarded 
as almost divine. Thus sings the muse of Anacreon : 

Happy creature ! what below 
Can more happy live than thou? 
Seated on thy leafy throne, 
Summer weaves thy verdant crown. 
Sipping o'er the pearly lawn, 
The fragrant nectar of the dawn, 
Little tales thoii lov'st to sing, 
Tales of mirth — an insect king. 
Thine the treasures of the field, 
All thy own the seasons yield ; 
Nature paints thee for the year, 
Songster to the shepherds dear; 
Innocent, of placid fame, 
What of man can boast the same? 
Thine the loudest voice of praise, 
Harbinger of fruitful days; 
Darling of the tuneful nine, 
Phoebus is thy sire divine; 
Phoebus to thy note has given 
Music from the spheres of heaven; 
Happy most as first of earth, 
All thy hours are peace and mirth; 
Cares nor pains to thee belong. 
Thou alone art ever young. 
Thine the pure immortal vein. 
Blood nor flesh thy life sustain; 
Rich in spirits — health thy feast, 
Thou art a demi-god at least. 




But the old witticism, attributed to the incorrigible Kho- 
dian sensualist, Xenarchus, gives quite a different reason to 
account for the supposed happiness of these insects: 

Happy the Cicadas' lives, 

Since they all have voiceless wives ! * 

Plutarch, reasoning upon that singular Pythagorean pre- 
cept which forbid the wife to admit swallows in the house, 
remarks: "Consider, and see whether the swallow be not 
odious and impious .... because she feedeth upon flesh, 
and, besides, killeth and devoureth especially grasshoppers 
(Cicadas), which are sacred and musical."^ 

The Athenians were so attached to the Cicadas, that 
their elders were accustomed to fasten golden images of 
them in their hair. Thucidides incidentally remarks that 
this custom ceased but a little before his time. He adds, 
also, that the fashion prevailed, too, for a long time with 
the elders of the lonians, from their affinity to the Athe- 

This singular form, for their ornamental combs, seems to 
have been adopted originally from the predilection of the 
Athenians for whatever bore any affinity to themselves, who 
boasted of being autochthones or aboriginal. It is sung of 
the Athenians : 

Blithe race ! whose mantles were bedeck'd 

With golden grasshoppers, in sign that they 

Had sprung, like those bright creatures, from the soil 

Whereon their endless generations dwelt. 

Mr. Michell supposes the Athenians to have imitated in 
this instance their prototypes, the Egyptians ; for as they, 
he adds, wore their favorite symbol, the Scaraba^us, in this 
manner, so Attic pride set up a rival in the head-dress thus 
introduced by Cecrops and his followers.'^ 

From a very ancient writer,^ we have similar ornaments 

1 It is a philosophical fact that the female Cicadas are not capable 
of making any noise — the above distich evinces its early discovery. 

2 Symposiaques. B. 8. Holl. Trans., p. C30. 

3 Thuc. B. 1, vi. (Bohn's ed.). 
* On Aristoph., Ve^p. 230. 

^ Cited by Athen., 625. 


ascribed to the Samians. They also most probably derived 
this fashion from the early Athenians.^ 

It seems, from the following lines of Asius,^ that Cicadas 
were also worn as ornaments on dresses ; 

Clad in magnificent robes, whose snow-white folds 
Reach'd to the ground of the extensive earth, 
And golden knobs on them like grasshoppers. 

The sound of the Cicada and that of the harp were called 
by the Greeks by one and the same name ; and a Cicada 
sitting upon a harp was the usual emblem of the science of 
music. This was accounted for by the following very pleas- 
ing and elegant tale : Two rival musicians, Eunomis of 
Locris and Aristo of Rhegium, when alternately playing 
upon the harp, the former was so unfortunate as to break a 
string of his instrument, and by which accident would cer- 
tainly have lost the prize, when a Cicada, flying to him and 
sitting upon his harp, supplied the place of the broken 
string with its melodious voice, and so secured to him an 
easy victory over his antagonist.^ 

To excel the Cicada in singing was the highest com- 
mendation of a singer, and the music of Plato's eloquence 
was only comparable to the voice of this insect. Homer 
compared his good orators to the Cicada, "which, in the 
woods, sitting on a tree, send forth a delicate voice. "^ But 
Yirgil speaks of them as insects of a disagreeable and 
stridulous tone, and accuses them of bursting the very 
shrubs w^ith their noise, — 

Et cantu querulae nimpent arbusta Cicadas. ^ 

Moufetsays : " The Cicadas, abounding in the end of spring, jj 

1 Cicada-combs are alluded to in Aristoph., Eq. 1331. Cf. also 
Philostr. Imag., p. 837. Heracl. Pont., cited by Athen., p. 512. 
Bloomfield's Thucid., 1. 14. 

2 Cited by Athen., p. 842 (Bohn's ed.). 

3 Strabo, Geoff. B. G. 

* Iliad, iii. 152. Buckley's translation, p. 53. 

5 Georg. iii. 328. Cf. Bucol. ii. Sir J. E. Smith, Tour., iii. 95, 
says also that the common Italian species makes a most disagreeable 
and dull chirping. The Cicadas of Africa, it is said, may be heard 
half a mile oiF; and the sound of one in a room will put a whole 
company to silence. Thunberg asserts that those of .Java utter a 
sound as shrill and piercing as that of a trumpet. Captain Hancock 
informed Messrs. Kirby and Spcnce that the Brazilian Cicadas sing 


do foretel a sickly year to come, not that they are the cause 
of putrefaction in themselves, but only shew plenty of putrid 
matter to be, when there is such store of them appear. 
Oftentimes their coming and singing doth portend the 
happy state of things : so also says Theocritus. Niphus 
saith that what year but few of them are to be seen, they 
presage dearness of victuals, and scarcity of all things 


"The Egyptians, by a Cicada painted, understood a 
priest and an holy man ; the latter makers of hieroglyphics 
sometimes will have them to signifie musicians, sometimes 
pratlers or talkative companions, but very fondly. How 
ever the matter be, the Cicada hath sung very well of her- 
self, in my judgement, in this following distich : 

Althougli I am an insect vei^y small, 

Yet with great virtue am endow'd withall."! 

Sir G. Staunton, in his account of China, remarks : " The 
shops of Hai-tien, in addition to necessaries, abounded in 
toys and trifles, calculated to amuse the rich and idle of 
both sexes, even to cages containing insects, such as the 
noisy Cicada, and a large species of the Gryllus. "^ 

S. Wells Williams tells us that the Chinese boys often 
capture the male Cicada of their country, and tie a straw 
around the abdomen, so as to irritate the sounding appa- 
ratus, and carry it through the streets in this predicament, 
to the great annoyance of every one, for the stridulous 
sound of this insect is of deafening loudness.^ 

When in Quincy, Illinois, in the summer of 1864, I was 
shown by a boy a toy, which he called a '' Locust," with 
which he imitated the loud rattling noise of the Cicada 
septemdecim with great accuracy. It consisted of a horse- 
as loud as to be heard at the distance of a mile. Introd., ii, 400. 
The sound of our American species, C. septemdecim, has been com- 
pared to the ringing of horse-bells. The tettix of the Greeks, says 
Dr. Shaw, Travels, lid edit., p. 18G, must have had quite a different 
voice, more soft surely and more melodious ; otherwise the fine 
orators of Homer, who are compared to it, can be looked upon as 
no better than loud, loquacious scolds. 

1 Theair. Ins., p. 134. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 994. 

Vide Pierius' Mieroglyjjh., p. 270-1. Initiatus sacris; Dicacita- 
tis castigatio; Vana garrulitas; Nobilitas generis; Musica. 

2 V. 2, c. 4, Donovan's Ins. of China, p. 32. 

3 Middle Kingd. 


hair tied to the end of a short stick, and looped in a cap of 
stiff writing-paper placed over the hole of a spool. To make 
the sound, then, the toy was whirled rapidly through the 
air, when the stiff paper acted as a sounding-board to the 
vibrating hair. 

At Surinam, Madame Merian tells us, the noise of the 
Cicada tihicen is still supposed to resemble the sound of a 
harp or lyre, and hence called the Lierman — the harper.^ 
Another species, in Ceylon, which makes the forest re-echo 
with a long-sustained noise so curiously resembling that of 
a cutler's wheel, has acquired the highly appropriate name 
of the Knife-grinder.'^ 

It is said of our Cicada septemdecim, the so-called, but 
very improperly, " Seventeen-year Locust," that, when they 
first leave the earth, Avhen they are plump and full of juices, 
they have been made use of in the manufacture of soap. 

The larva of a Chinese species of Cicada, the Flata lim- 
bata, which scarcely exceeds the domestic fly in size, forms 
a sort of grease, which adheres to the branches of trees and 
hardens into wax. In autumn the natives scrape this sub- 
stance, which they call Fela, from off the trees, melt, purify, 
and form it into cakes. It is white and glossy in appear- 
ance, and, when mixed with oil, is used to make candles, 
and is said to be superior to the common w^ax for use. The 
physicians employ it in several diseases ; and the Chinese, 
as we are informed by the Abbe Crosier, when they are 
about to speak in public, or when any occasion is likely to 
occur on which it may be necessary to have assurance and 
resolution, eat an ounce of it to prevent swoonings or palpi- 
tations of the heart.^ 

On the large cheese-like cakes of this wax, hanging in the 
grocers' and tallow-chandlers' shops at Hankow, are often 
seen the inscription written: "It mocks at the frost, and 
rivals the snow." The price, in 1858, was forty dollars a 
picul, or about fifteei> pence a pound.* 

The Creeks, notwithstanding their veneration for the 
Cicada, made these insects an article of food, and accounted 
them delicious. Aristotle says, the larva, when it is grown 

1 Surinam^ 49. 

2 Tenuent, Nal. Hist, of Ceylon, p. 432. 
s Desc. of China, i. 442. 

* Olipbant's Lord Elgin's Miss, to China, p. 665. 


in the earth, and become a tettigometra (pupa), is the sweet- 
est ; when changed to the tettix, the males at first have the 
best flavor, but after impregnation the females are preferred, 
on account of their white ova.^ Athenseus and Aristophanes 
also mention their being eaten ; and JSlian is extremely 
angry with the men of his age that an animal sacred to the 
Muses should be strung, sold, and greedily devoured.^ The 
Cicada septemdecim, Mr. Colhnson in It 63 said, was eaten 
by the Indians of America, who plucked off the wings and 
boiled them.^ 

Osbeck tells us that the Cicada chinensis, along with 
the Buprestis maxima, and several species of Butterflies, is 
made an article of commerce by the Chinese, being sold in 
their shops.* 

FulgoridsB — Lantern-flies. 

The Lantern-fly, Fulgora lanternaria of Linnoeus, found in 
many parts of South America, is supposed to emit a vivid light 
from the large hood, or lantern, which projects from its body, 
and to be frequently serviceable to benighted travelers ; hence 
the specific name, lanternaria. This story originated about a 
century and a half ago, from the work of the celebrated Ma- 
dame Merian, who lived several years in Surinam. Her ac- 
count contains the following anecdote : '' The Indians once 
brought me, before I knew that they shone by night, a number 
of these Lantern-flies, which I shut up in a wooden box. In 
the night they made such a noise that I awoke in a fright, 
and ordered a hght to be brought ; not knowing whence the 
noise proceeded. As soon as we found that it came from 
the box, we opened it ; but were still much more alarmed, 
and let it fall to the ground, in a fright at seeing a flame of 
fire come out of it ; and as so many animals as came out, 
so many flames of fire appeared. When we found this to 

1 Hist. An., B. 5, c. 24, ^ 3, 4. Bohn's edit. 

2 Cf. Bochart, Illeroz., ii. 491. 

3 Phil. Trans., 1763, n. 10. 
* Travels, i. 331. 

Baird says, but on what authority he does not state, that Cicadas 
are frequently to be seen represented on the Egyptian monuments, 
and are said to be emblems of the ministers of religion. — Encycl. of 
Nat. Sci. 


be the case, we recoYered from our fright, and again col- 
lected the insects, highly admiring their splendid appear- 

Dr. Darwin, in a note to some lines relative to luminous 
insects, in his poem, the Loves of the Plants, makes Madame 
Merian afiirm that she drew and finished her figure of the 
insect by its own light. This story is without foundation. 

The Indians of South America say and believe that the 
Lyerman, Cicada tibicen, is clmnged into the Lantern-fly; 
and that the latter emits a hght similar to that of a lantern.^ 

This story of the Lantern-fly being luminous is the more 
remarkable since the veracity of its author is unimpeached. 
She doubtless has confounded it with the Cucujus, Elater 
noctilucus. Donovan, however, states that the Chinese 
Lantern-fly, Fulgora candelaria, has an illuminated appear- 
ance in the night.^ 

From the loud noise the Lantern-fly makes at night, which 
is said to be somewhat between the grating of a razor- 
grinder and the clang of cymbals, it is called by the Dutch, 
in Guiana, Scare-sleep.^ Ligon, in his History of Barbados, 
printed in 16*73, probably refers to this insect, when he says : 
" They lye all day in holes and hollow trees, and as 
soon as the Sun is down they begin their tunes, which are 
neither singing nor crying, but the shrillest voyces that ever 
I heard ; nothing can be so nearly resembled to it, as the 
mouths of a pack of small beagles at a distance." This 
author, however, thought this sound by no means unpleasant. 
*'So lively and chirping," he continues, "the noise is, as 
nothing can be more delightful to the ears, if there were not 
too much of it, for the musick hath no intermission till 
morning, and then all is husht."^ 

^ Insects of Surinam, p. 49. 

2 Jaeger, Life of N. A. Ins., p. 73. 

3 Ins. of China, p. 30. That the Lantern-fly emits no light, see 
Diet dllist. Nat.; M. Richards' statement in JEncyclop., art. Fulgora; 
Berlin Mag., i. 153 ; Kirby and Spence, Introd., ii. 414, note; Jaeger, 
qua supra. 

* Stcdman, Surinam, ii. 37. 
^ Hist, of Barbados, p. C5. 


Aphidse — Plant-lice. 

The Aphides are remarkable for secreting a sweet, viscid 
fluid, known by the name of Honey-dew, the origin of which 
has puzzled the world for ages. Pliny says "it is either a 
certaine sweat of the skie, or some unctuous gellie proceed- 
ing from the starres, or rather a liquid purged from the aire 
when it purifyeth itself."^ 

Amyntas, in his Stations of Asia, quoted by Athenaeus, 
gives a curious account of the manner of collecting this 
article, which was supposed to be superior to the nectar of 
the Bee, in various parts of the East, particularly in Syria. 
In some cases they gathered the leaves of trees, chiefly of 
the linden and oak, for on these the dew was most abund- 
antly found,^ and pressed them together. Others allowed it 
to drop from the leaves and harden into globules, which, 
when desirous of using, they broke, and, having poured 
water on them in wooden bowls, drank the mixture. In 
the neighborhood of Mount Lebanon, Honey-dew was col- 
lected plentifully several times in the year, being caught by 
spreading skins under the trees, and shaking into them the 
liquid from the leaves. The Dew was then poured into 
vessels, and stored away for future use. On these occasions 
the peasants used to exclaim, " Zeus has been raining 
honey I'" 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times, we 
read : "Galen saith, that there fell such great quantity of this 
Dew (in his time) in his Countrey of Pergamus, that the 
Countrey people (greatly delighted therein) gave thankes 
therefor to lupiter. JElianus writeth also that there fell 
such plenty thereof in India, in the Region which is called 
Frasia, and so moistened the Grasse, that the Sheepe, Kine, 
and Goates feeding thereon, yeelded Milke sweete like Hony, 
which was very pleasing to drinke. And when they used 
that Milke in any disease, they needed not to put any Hony 
therein, to the end it should not corrupt in the stomacke : 
as it is appointed in Hecticke Feauers, Consumption, 

1 Nat. Hist., xi. 12. Holl. Trans., i. 315. E. 

2 Theoph. Hist. Plant., iii. 7, 6. Cf. Hes. 0pp. et Dies, 232, seq. and 
Bacon, Spl. Sylvarum, 496. 

3 St. John's And. Greeks, ii. 299. 



Tisickes, and for others that are ulcered in the intestines, as 
is confirmed by the Histories of P or tug all. "'^ 

The Aphides, like many other insects, sometimes migrate 
in clouds ; and among other instances on record of these 
migrations, Mr. White informs us that about three o'clock 
in the afternoon of the first of August, 1785, the people of 
the village of Selborne were surprised by a shower of 
Aphides which fell in those parts. Persons who walked in 
the street at this time found themselves covered with them, 
and they settled in such numbers in the gardens and on the 
hedges as to blacken every leaf Mr. White's annuals were 
thus all discolored with them, and the stalks of a bed of 
onions were quite coated over for six days afterward. These 
swarms, he remarks, were then no doubt in a state of emi- 
gration, and might have come from the great hop plantations 
of Kent and Sussex, the wind being all that day in the east. 
They were observed at the same time in great clouds about 
Farnham, and all along the vale from Farnham to Alton. ^ 
A similar emigration of these insects Mr. Kirby once wit- 
nessed, to his great annoyance, when traveling later in the 
year in the Isle of Ely. The air was so full of them, that 
they were incessantly flying into his eyes and nostrils, and 
his clothes were covered by them; and in 1814, in the au- 
tumn, the Aphides were so abundant for a few days in the 
vicinity of Ipswich, as to be noticed with surprise by the most 
incurious observers.^ Neither Mr. White nor Mr. Kirby 
informs us what particular species formed these immense 
flights, but it is most probable they belonged to the Hop-fly, 
Aphis humidi. 

Reaumur tells us that in the Levant, Persia, and China, 
they use the galls of a particular species of AjjJiis for dyeing 
silk crimson,^ 

In England, the mischief caused by the Hop-fly, Aphis 
humuli, in some seasons, as in 1802, has brought the duty 
of hops down from £100,000 to £14,000. 

A quite common, though erroneous, belief in England is, 
that Aphides are produced, or brought by, a northern or east- 
ern wind. Thomson has fallen intothe error; he has also 
confounded the mischief of caterpillars with that of the Aphis : 

1 B. 3, c. xvi. p. 278. Printed 1613. 

2 iVat. Hint, of Selborne, p. 366. 

3 K. and S. Introd., ii. 9. 

* Reaumur, iii. xxxi. Pref. 


For oft, engendered by the liazy north, 
Myriads on myriads insect armies wai'p, 
Keen in the poison'd breeze, and wasteful eat. 
Through buds and bark into the blackened core 
Their eager way. A feeble race ! Yet oft 
The sacred sons of vengeance, on whose course 
Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year. 

Coccidae — Shield-lice. 

The Kerraes-dje, or scarlet, marie from the Coccus ilicis 
of Linngeus, an insect found chiefly on a species of oak, the 
Quer^cus ilex, in the Levant, France, Spain, and other parts 
of the world, was known in the East in the earliest ages, 
even before the time of Moses, and was a discovery of the 
PhoBnicians in Palestine, who also first employed the murex 
and buccinum for the purpose of dyeing. 

Tola or Thola was the ancient Phoenician name for this 
insect and dye, which was used by the Hebrews, and even 
by the Syrians; for it is employed by the Syrian translator.^ 
Among the Jews, after their captivity, the Araracean zehori 
was more common. This dye was known also to the Egyp- 
tians in the time of Moses; and it is most probable that the 
color mentioned in Exodus^ as on,e of the three which were 
prescribed for the curtains of the tabernacle, and for the 
"holy garments" of Aaron, and which the English transla- 
tors have rendered by the word scarlet (not the color now 
so called, which was not known in James the First's reign 
when the Bible was translated), was no other than the blood- 
red color dyed from the Coccus ilicis. 

The Arabs received the name Kermes or Alkermes for 
the insect and dye, from Armenia and Persia, where the 
insect was indigenous, and had long been known ; and that 
name banished the old name in the East, as the name scarlet 
has in the West. For the first part of this assertion we 
must believe the Arabs. The Kermes, however, were not 
indigenous to Arabia, as the Arabs appear to have no name 
for them. To the Greeks this dye was known under the 

1 Isaiah, ch. i. v. 18. 

2 Ex. ch. xxvi. xxviii. xxix. 


name of Coccus, as appears from Dioscorides, and other 
Greek writers.^ 

From the epithets kermes and coccus, and that of ver- 
miculus ovvermiculum, given to the Kermes in the middle 
ages, when they were ascertained to be insects, have sprung 
the Latin coccineus, the French carmesin, carmine, cra- 
moisi and vermeil, the Italian chermisi, cremisino, and 
cher merino, and our crimson and vermilion. 

The imperishable reds of the Brussels and other Flemish 
tapestries were derived from the Kermes; and, in short, 
previous to the discovery of cochineal, this was the mate- 
rial universally used for dyeing the most brilliant red then 
known. At the present time the Kermes are only gathered 
in Europe by the peasantry of the provinces in which they 
are found, but they still continue to be employed as of old 
in a great part of India and Persia. ^ 

Brookes says the women gather the harvest of Kermes 
insects before sunrise, tearing them off with their nails; 
and, for fear there should be any loss from the hatching of 
the insects, they sprinkle them with vinegar. They then 
lay them in the sun to dry, where they acquire a red color. ^ 

The scarlet grain of Poland, Coccus j)olonicus, found 
on the German knot-grass or perennial knawel (Scleranthus 
perennis), was at one time collected in large quantities in 
the Ukraine and other provinces of Poland (here under the 
name of Czerwiec), and also in the great duchy of Lithu- 
ania. But though much esteemed and still employed by 
the Turks and Armenians for dyeing wool, silk, and hair, 
as well as for staining the nails of women's fingers, it is 
now rarely used in Europe except by the Polish peasantry. 
A similar neglect has attended the Coccus found on the 
roots of the Burnet {PoteiHum sanguisorha, Linn.), which 
was used, particularly by the Moors, for dyeing wool and 
silk a rose color ; and the Coccus uvae-ursi, which with 
alum affords a crimson dye.* 

Cochineal, the Coccus cacti, is doubtless the most valu- j| 
able product for which the dyer is indebted to insects, and ' 

» Diosc. iv. 48, p. 260. Pausan. B. x. p. 890. 

2 Beckman's Hist, of Inventions, ii. 163-195. Banci'oft on Perm. 
Colors, i. 393-408. 

3 Nat. Hist, of Ins. , p. 77. 

* Bancroft on J'ermancnt Colors, i. 408-9. 


with the exception perhaps of indigo, the most important of 
dyeing materials. It is found on a liind of fig, called in 
Mexico, where the insect is produced in any quantity, No- 
pal or Tuna, which generally has been supposed to be the 
Cactus cochinilifer, but according to Humboldt is unques- 
tionably a distinct species, which bears fruit internally 

Cochineal was discoyered by the Spaniards, on their 
first arriyal in Mexico, about the year 1518 ; but who first 
remarked this valuable production, and made it known in 
Europe, Mr. Beckman says, he has been unable to discover. 
Some assert that the native Mexicans, before the landing 
of Cortes, were acquainted with cochineal, which they 
employed in painting their houses and^yeing their clothes ; 
but others maintain the contrary. Be that as it may, how- 
ever, the Spanish ministry, as early as the year 1523, as 
Herrera informs us, ordered Cortes to take measures for 
multiplying this valuable commodity; and soon after it 
must have begun to be quite an object of commerce, for 
Guicciardini, who died in 1589, mentions it among the 
articles procured then by the merchants of Antwerp from 

Professor Beckman, who has given the subject particular 
attention, thinks that with the first cochineal, a true ac- 
count of the manner in which it was procured must have 
reached Europe, and become publicly known. Acosta in 
1530, and Herrera in 1601, as well as Hernandez and 
others, gave so true and complete a description of it, that 
the Europeans could entertain no doubt respecting its 
origin. The information of these authors, however, con- 
tinues this gentleman, was either overlooked or considered 
as false, and disputes arose whether cochineal was insects 
or worms, or the berries or seeds of certain plants. The 
Spanish name grana, confounded with granum, may have 
given rise to this contest. 

Illustrative of this great difference of opinion, Mr. Beck- 
man narrates the following anecdote: "A Dutchman, 
named Melchior de Ruusscher, affirmed in a society, from 
oral information he had received in Spain, that cochineal 
was small animals. Another person, whose name he has 
not made known, maintained the contrary with so much 
heat and violence, that the dispute at length ended in a 
bet. Ruusscher charged a Spaniard, one of his friends, 



who was going to Mexico, to procure for him in that coun- 
try authentic proofs of what he had asserted. These proofs, 
legally confirmed in October, 1725, by the court of justice 
in the city of Antiquera, in the valley of Oaxaca, arrived at 
Amsterdam in the autumn of the year 1726. I have been 
informed that Ruusscher upon this got possession of the 
sum betted, which amounted to the whole property of the 
loser; but that, after keeping it a certain time, he again re- 
turned it, deducting only the expenses he had been at in 
procuring the evidence, and in causing it to be published. 
It formed a small octavo volume, with the following title 
printed in red letters: Tlie History of Cochineal jyr^oved 
by Authentic documents. These proofs sent from New- 
Spain are written in Dutch, French, and Spanish."^ 

Among the important discoveries made by accident, the 
following in the history of Cochineal may be instanced : 
"The well-iinown Cornelius Drebbel, who was born at 
Alcmaar, and died at London in 1634, having placed in his 
window an extract of Cochineal, made with boiling water, 
for the purpose of filling a thermometer, some aqua-regia 
dropped into it from a phial, broken by accident, which 
stood above it, and converted the purple dye into a most 
beautiful dark red. After some conjectures and experi- 
ments, he discovered that the tin by which the window 
frame was divided into squares had been dissolved by the 
aqua-regia, and was the cause of this change. He com- 
municated his observation to Kuffelar, an ingenious dyer 
at Leyden. The latter brought the discovery to perfection, 
and employed it some years alone in his dye-house, which 
gave rise to the name of Kuffelar's color. "^ 

That innocent cosmetic, so much used by the ladies, and 
commonly known by the French term Rouge, is no other 
than a preparation of Cochineal.^ 

Kermes-berries, Coccus ilicis, and Cochineal, C. cacti, 
Geoffrey says, "are esteemed to be greatly cordial and 
sudorific, being very full of volatile salt. They are given 
also to prevent abortion from any strain or hurt."* 

Lac is the produce of an insect supposed by Amatus 

1 Hist, of Inventions, ii. 184. 

2 Ibid., 11)2. 

3 Shaw's ZuoL, vi. 102. 

* Subst. ustd in Physic, p. ;>70. 


Lusitanus to be a kind of ant, and by others a bee, but now 
ascertained to be a species belonging to the Coccidas — the 
Coccus ficus or G. lacca. It is collected from various trees 
in India, where it is found so abundantly, that, were the 
consumption ten times greater than it is, it could be readily 

Lac is known in Europe by the different appellations of 
stick-lac, when in its natural state, adhering to, and often 
completely surrounding, for five or six inches, the twigs on 
which it is produced by the insects contained in its cells ; 
seed-lac, when broken into small pieces, garbled, and the 
greater part of the coloring matter extracted by water; 
when it appears in a granulated form; lump-lac, when 
melted and made into cakes ; and shell-lac, when strained 
and formed into transparent laminae. 

Lac, in its different forms, is made use of in the manu- 
facture of varnishes, japanned ware, sealing-wax, beads, 
rings, arm-bracelets, necklaces, water-proof hats, etc., etc. 
Mixed with fine sand it forms grindstones; and added to 
lamp or ivory black, being first dissolved in water with the 
addition of a little borax, it composes an ink not easily 
acted upon by dampness or water. It has been applied 
also to a still more important purpose, originally suggested 
by Dr. Roxburgh about the year 1790 — that of a substitute 
for Cochineal in dyeing scarlet.^ From this suggestion, 
under the direction of Dr. Bancroft, large quantities of a 
substance termed lac-lake, consisting of the coloring matter 
of stick-lac precipitated from an alkaline lixivium by alum, 
were manufactured at Calcutta and sent to England, where 
at first the consumption was so great, that, according to 
the statement of Dr. Bancroft, in 1806, and the two follow- 
ing years, the sales of it at the India House equaled in 
point of coloring matter half a million of pounds' weight of 
Cochineal. Soon after this, a new preparation of lac color, 
under the name of lac-dye, was substituted for the lac-lake, 
and with such advantage, that in a few months £14,000 
were saved by the East India Company in the purchase of 
scarlet cloths dyed with this color and Cochineal conjointly, 
and without any inferiority in the color obtained.^ 

1 Phil. Trans, for 1791. 

''' Bancroft on Permanent Colors, ii. 1-59. 


The Cocoidae, although they furnish an invaluable dye 
and many articles of commerce, are among the most hurtful 
of insects in gardens and hot-houses. In 1843, the orange- 
trees of the Azores or Western Islands were nearly entirely 
destroyed by the Coccus Hesperiduvi ; and in Fayal, an 
island which had usually exported twelve thousand chests 
of oranges annually, not one was exported.^ 

1 Baird's Cyclop, of Nat. Set. 




CimicidsB — Bed-bugs . 

"In the year 1503," says Moufet, "Dr. Penny was called 
in great haste to a little village, called Mortlake, near the 
Thames, to visit two noble ladies (duas nobiles), who were 
much frightened by the appearance of bug-bites {ex cinicuin 
vestigiis), and were in fear of I know not what contagion ; 
but when the matter was known, and the insects caught, he 
laughed them out of all fear."^ 

This fact disproves the statement of Southall, that the 
Gimex lectularius was not known in England before 16t0, 
and that of Linnaeus, and the generality of later writers, 
that this insect is not originally a native of Europe, but was 
introduced into England after the great fire of London in 
1666, having been brought in timber from America. 

The original English names of the C. lectularius, were 
Chinche, Wall-louse, and Punaise (from the French); 
and the term Bug, which is a Celtic word, signifying a 
ghost or goblin, was applied to them after the time of Ray,^ 
most probably because they were considered as " terrors of 
the night. "=^ 

In the Nicholson's Journal* there is mention of a man 
who, far from disliking Bed-bugs, took them under his pro- 
tecting care, and would never suffer them to be disturbed, 
or his bedsteads removed, till in the end they swarmed to an 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 270. 

2 Ray, Hist. Ins., 7. 

3 Hence the English word Bug-bear. In Matthew's Bible, the pas- 
sage of the Psalms (xci. 5), "Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror 
by night," is rendered, " Thou shalt not nede to be afraid of any bugs 
by night." Bug in this sense often occurs in Shakspeare. Winter s 
Tale, A. iii. Sc. 2, 3; Henry VI., A. v. Sc. 2; Hamlet, A. v. Sc. 2. 

* Journal, xvii. 40. 



incredible dep^ree, crawling up even the walls of his draw- 
ing-room ; and after his death millions were found in his 
bed and chamber furniture. 

Gemelli, in 1695, visited the Banian hospital at Surat, 
and says that what amazed him most, though he went there 
for that express purpose, was to see "a poor wretch, naked, 
bound down hand^ and feet, to feed the Bugs or Punaises, 
brought out of their stinking holes for that purpose."^ 

Mr. Forbes, speaking of this remark^le institution for 
animals, says: "At my visit, the hospital contained horses, 
mules, oxen, sheep, goats, monkeys, poultry, pigeons, and a 
variety of birds. The most extraordinary ward was that 
appropriated to rats and mice, Bugs, and other noxious ver- 
min. The overseers of the hospital frequently hire beggars 
from the streets, for a stipulated sum, to pass a night among 
the Fleas, Lice, and Bugs, on the express condition of suf- 
fering them to enjoy their feast without molestation."- 

Navarette says that a species of Bugs (most probably a 
Cimex), which swarm in some parts of China, are a source 
of great amusement to the natives; for they take particular 
delight in killing them with their fingers, and then clapping 
them to their noses. ^ 

Democritus says that the feet of a hare, or of a stag, 
hung round the feet of the bed at the bottom of the couch, 
does not suffer Bugs to breed ; but, in traveling, Didymus 
adds, if you fill a vessel with cold water and set it under the 
bed, they will not touch you when you are asleep.* 

A superstition prevails among us that beds, in order to 
rid them effectually of Bugs, must be cleaned during the 
dark of the moon. 

The medicinal virtues of the Cimex are given by Pliny 
(doubtless quoting Dioscorides, ii. 36) as follows : " Tlie 
Bug is said to be a neutralizer of the venom of serpents, 
asps in particular, and to be a preservative against all kinds 
of poisons. As a proof of this, they tell us that the sting 
of an asp is never fatal to poultry, if they have eaten Bugs 
that day ; and that, if such is the case, their flesh is remark- 

1 Churchiirs Col. of Voy. and Trav., iv. 190. 

2 Oriental Memoirs, i. 256. 

3 Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., iv. 513. Churchiirs same, i. 34. 
* Oweu's Geoponika, ii. 1(30. 


ablj beneficial to persons who have been stung by serpents. 
Of the various recipes j2^iven in reference to these insects, 
the least revolting are the application of them externally to 
the wound, with the blood of a tortoise; the employment of 
them as a fumigation to make leeches loose their hold ; and 
the administering of them to animals in drink when a leech 
has been accidentally swallowed. Some persons, however, 
go so far as to crush Bugs with salt and woman's milk, and 
anoint the eyes with the mixture ; in combination, too, 
with honey and oil of roses, they use them as an injection 
for the ears. Field-bugs, again, and those found upon the 
mallow (perhaps the Cimex jDratennis is meant here ; neither 
this nor the Gimex junipermus, the G. bra^sicse, or the 
Lygaeus hyoscami, has the offensive smell of the G. lectula- 
rius) are burnt, and the ashes mixed with oil of roses as an 
injection for the ears. 

"As to the other remedial virtues attributed to Bugs for 
the cure of vomiting, quartan fevers, and other diseases, 
although we find recommendations given to swallow them 
in an egg, some wax, or in a bean,^ I look upon them as 
utterly unfounded, and not worthy of further notice. They 
are employed, however, for the treatment of lethargy, and 
with some fair reason, as they successfully neutralize the 
narcotic effects of the poison of the asp ; for this purpose 
seven of them are administered in a cyathus of water; but 
in the case of children, only four. In cases, too, of stran- 
gury they have been injected into the urinarychannel.^ So 
true it is that nature, that universal parent, has engendered 
nothing without some powerful reason or other. In addi- 
tion to these particulars, a couple of Bugs, it is said, at- 
tached to the left arm in some wool that has been stolen 
from the shepherds, will effectually cure nocturnal fevers ; 
while those recurrent in the daytime may be treated with 
equal success by inclosing the Bags in a piece of russet- 
colored cloth. "^ 

1 Dr. James says: "Given to the number of seven, as food with 
beans, they help those who are afflicted with a quartan ague, if they 
be eaten before the accession of the fit." — 3fed. Diet. 

2 An excellent method, Ajasson remarks, of adding to the tortures 
of the patient. 

3 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xxix. 17. Bostock and Riley's Trans., v. 893. 

268 CmiClDJE — BED-BUGS. 

Guettard, a French commentator on Pliny, recommends 
Bugs to be taken internally for hysteria; and Dr. James 
says " the smell of them relieves under hysterical suffoca- 

At the present time the Bed-bug is sometimes given by 
the country people of Ohio as a cure for the fever and ague. 

Moufet says: "The verses of Quintus Serenus show that 
they are good for tertian agues : 

Shame not to drink three Wall-Hce mixt with wine, 
And garlick bruised together at noon-day. 

Moreover a bruised Wall-louse with an egg, repine 
Not for to take, 'tis loathsome, yet full good I say. 

" Gesner in his writings confirms this experiment, having 
made trial of it among the common and meaner sort of 
people in the country. The ancients gave seven to those 
that were taken with a lethargy, in a cup of water, and four 
to children. Pliny and Serenus consent to this in these 
verses : 

Some men prescribe seven Wall-lice for to drink, 
Mingled with water, and one cup they think 
Is belter than with drowsy deatii to sink."^ 

Anatolius says that if an ox, or other quadruped, swal- 
lows a leech in drinking, having pounded some Bugs, let 
the animal smell them, and he immediately throws up the 
leech. ^ 

Mr. Mayhew, in his work on the London poor and their 
labor, has an interesting chapter devoted to the Destroyers 
of Yermin, from which we have taken the liberty of quoting 
pretty largely in the course of this work. His statements 
can be relied on, and we give them as nearly in his own 
words as possible. Concerning Bugs and Fleas, and the 
trade carried on in the manufacture and vending of poisons 
to destroy these pests, we learn from him : The vending of 
bug-poison in the London streets is seldom followed as a 
regular source of living. He has met with persons who re- 
membered to have seen men selling packets of vermin poi- 
son ; but to find out the venders themselves was next to an 

1 Jfed. Diet. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 270-1. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1098. 
s Owen's Geoponika, ii. 157. 


impossibility. The men seem to take merely to the business 
as a living when all other sources have failed. All, how- 
ever, agree in acknowledging that there is such a street trade ; 
but that the living it afi'ords is so precarious that few men 
stop at it longer than two or three weeks. 

The most eminent firm, perhaps, of the bug-destroyers in 
London now is that of Messrs. Tiffin and Son. They have 
pursued their calling in the streets, but now rejoice in the 
title of " Bug-Destroyers to Her Majesty and the Royal 

Mr. Tiffin, the senior party in this house, kindly obliged 
Mr. Mayhew with the following statement. It may be as 
well to say that Mr. Tiffin appears to have paid much atten- 
tion to the subject of Bugs, and has studied with much earn- 
estness the natural history of this vermin. He said : 

"We can trace our business back as far as 1695, when one 
of our ancestors first turned his attention to the destruction 
of bugs. He was a lady's stay-maker — men used to make 
them in those days, though, as far back as that is concerned, 
it was a man that made my mother's dresses. This ancestor 
found some bugs in his house — a young colony of them, that 
had introduced themselves without his permission, and he 
didn't like their company, so he tried to turn them out of 
doors again, I have heard it said, in various ways. It is in 
history, and it has been handed down in my own family as 
well, that bugs were first introduced into England, after 
the fire in London, in the timber that was brought for the 
rebuilding of the city, thirty years after the fire, and it was 
about that time that my ancestor first discovered the colony 
of bugs in his house. I can't say whether he studied the sub- 
ject of bug-destroying, or whether he found out his stuff by 
accident, but he certainly did invent a compound which 
completely destroyed the bugs, and, having been so suc- 
cessful in his own house, he named it to some of his cus- 
tomers who were similarly plagued, and that was the com- 
mencement of the present connection, which has continued 
up to this time. 

"At the time of the illumination for the Peace, I thought 
I must have something over my shop, that would be both 
suitable for the event and to my business ; so I had a trans- 
parency done, and stretched on a big frame, and lit up by 
gas, on which was written 








" Our business was formerly carried on in the Strand, 
where both my father and myself were born ; in fact, I may 
say I was born to the bug business. 

" I remember my father as well as possible ; indeed, I 
worked with him for ten or eleven years. He used, when 
I was a boy, to go out to his work killing bugs at his cus- 
tomers' houses with a sword by his side and a cocked-hat 
and bag-wig on his head — in fact, dressed up like a regular 
dandy, I remember my grandmother, too, when she was 
in the business, going to the different houses, and seating 
herself in a chair, and telling the men what they were to 
do, to clean the furniture and wash the woodwork. 

"I have customers in our books for whom our house has 
worked these 150 years ; that is, my father and self have 
worked for them and their fathers. We do the work by 
contract, examining the house every year. It's a precau- 
tion to keep the place comfortable. You see, servants are 
apt to bring bugs in their boxes ; and, though there may 
be only two or three bugs perhaps hidden in the wood- 
work and the clothes, yet they soon breed if let alone. 

" We generally go in the spring, before the bugs lay their 
eggs ; or, if that time passes, it ought to be done before 
June, before their eggs are hatched, though it's never too 
late to get rid of a nuisance. 

"I mostly find the bugs in the bedsteads. But, if they 
are left unmolested, they get numerous and climb to the 
tops of the rooms, and about the corners of the ceilings. 
They colonize anywhere they can, though they're very 
high-minded and prefer lofty places. Where iron bedsteads 
are used, the bugs are more in the rooms, and that's why 
such things are bad. They don't keep a bug away from a 
person sleeping. Bugs'll come if they're thirty yards off. 

''I knew a case of a bug who used to come every night 
about thirty or forty feet — it was an immense large room — 


from the comer of the room to visit an old ladj. There 
was only one bug, and he'd been there for a long time. I 
was sent for to find him out. It took me a long time to 
catch him. In that instance I had to examine every part 
of the room, and when I got him I gave him an extra nip 
to serve him out. The reason why I was so bothered was, 
the bug had hidden itself near the window, the last place I 
should have thought of looking for him, for a bug never, by 
choice, faces the light ; but when I came to inquire about 
it, I found that this old lady never rose till three o'clock in 
the day, and the window-curtains were always drawn, so 
that there was no light like. 

" Lord ! yes, I am often sent for to catch a single bug. 
I've had to go many, many miles — even 100 or 200 — into 
the country, and perhaps only catch half a dozen bugs after 
all; but then that's all that are there, so it answers our em- 
ployer's purpose as well as if they were swarming. 

"I work for the upper classes only ; that is, for carriage- 
company and such like approaching it, you know. I have 
noblemen's names, the first in England, on my books. 

" My work is more method ; and I may call it a scientific 
treating of the bugs rather than wholesale murder. We 
don't care about the thousands, it's the last bug we look for, 
whilst your carpenters and upholsterers leave as many be- 
hind them, perhaps, as they manage to catch. 

" The bite of the bug is very curious. They bite all per- 
sons the same (?); but the difference of effect lies in the con- 
stitutions of the parties. I've never noticed that a diff'erent 
kind of skin makes any difference in being bitten. Whether 
the skin is moist or dry, it don't matter. Wherever bugs 
are, the person sleeping in the bed is sure to be fed on, 
whether they are marked or not; and as a proof, when no- 
body has slept in the bed for some time, the bugs become 
quite flat; and, on the contrary, when the bed is always oc- 
cupied, they are round as a lady-bird. 

"The flat bug is more ravenous, though even he will al- 
low you time to go to sleep before he begins with you; or 
at least till he thinlvs you ought to be asleep. When they 
find all quiet, not even a light in the room will prevent 
their biting ; but they are seldom or never found under the 
bedclothes. They like a clear ground to get off', and gen- 
erally bite round the edges of the nightcap or the night- 
dress. When thev are found in the bed, it's because the 


parties have been tossing about, and have curled the sheets 
round the bugs. 

"The finest and fattest bugs I ever saw were those I 
found in a black man's bed. He was the favorite servant 
of an Indian general. He didn't want his bed done by me ; 
he didn't want it touched. His bed was full of 'em, no bee- 
hive was ever fuller. The walls and all were the same, 
there wasn't a patch that was not crammed with them. He 
must have taken them all over the house wherever he 

"I've known persons to be laid up for months through 
bug-bites. There was a very handsome fair young lady I 
knew once, and she was much bitten about the arms, and 
neck, and face, so that her eyes were so swelled up she 
couldn't see. The spots rose up like blisters, the same as 
if stung with a nettle, only on a very large scale. The 
bites were very much inflamed, and after a time they had 
the appearance of boils. 

" Some people fancy, and it is historically recorded, that 
the bug smells because it has no vent ; but this is fabulous, 
for they have a vent. It is not the human blood neither 
that makes them smell, because a young bug who has never 
touched a drop will smell. They breathe, I believe, through 
their sides ; but I can't answer for that, though it's not through 
the head. They haven't got a mouth, but they insert into 
the skin the point of a tube, which is quite as fine as a hair, 
through which they draw up the blood. I have many a 
time put a bug on the back of my hand, to see how they 
bite ; though I never felt the bite but once, and then I sup- 
pose the bug had pitched upon a very tender part, for it was 
a sharp prick, something like that of a leech-bite. 

"I once had a case of lice-killing, for my process will an- 
swer as well for them as for bugs, though it's a thing I 
never should follow by choice. Lice seem to harbor pretty 
much the same as bugs do. I find them in the furniture. 
It was a nurse that brought them into the house, though 
she was as nice and clean a looking woman as ever I saw. 
I should almost imagine the lice must have been in her, 
for they say there is a disease of that kind ; and if the tics 
breed in sheep, why should not lice breed in us ? for we're 
but live matter, too. I didn't like myself at all for two or 
three days after that lice-killing job, I can assure you ; it's 
the only case of the kind I ever had, and I can promise 
vou it shall be the last. 


" I was once at work on the Princess Charlotte's own 
bedstead. I was in the room, and she asked me if I had 
found anything, and I told her no ; but just at that minute 
I did happen to catch one, and upon that she sprang up on 
the bed, and put her head on my shoulder, to look at it. 
She had been tormented by the creature, because I was or- 
dered to come directly, and that was the only one I found. 
When the Princess saw it, she said, 'Oh, the nasty thing I 
That's what tormented me last night ; don't let him escape.' 
I think he looked all the better for having tasted royal 

"I also profess to kill beetles, though you never can de- 
stroy them so effectually as you can bugs ; for, you see, 
beetles run from one house to another, and you can never 
perfectly get rid of them ; you can only keep them under. 
Beetles will scrape their way and make their road round a 
fire-place, but how they go from one house to another I 
can't say, but they do. 

"I never had patience enough to try and kill Fleas by my 
process ; it would be too much of a chivey to please me. 

"I never heard of any but one man who seriously went to 
work selling bug-poison in the streets. I was told by some 
persons that he was selling a first-rate thing, and I spent 
several days to find him out. But, after all, his secret proved 
to be nothing at all. It was train-oil, linseed and hempseed, 
crushed up all together, and the bugs were to eat it till they 

"After all, secrets for bug-poisons ain't worth much, for 
all depends upon the application of them. For instance, it 
is often the case that I am sent for to find out one bug in a 
room large enough for a school. I've discovered it when 
the creature had been three or four months there, as I could 
tell by his having changed his jacket so often, for bugs shed 
their skins, you know. No, there was no reason that he 
should have bred ; it might have been a single gentleman or 
an old maid. 

"A married couple of bugs will lay from forty to fifty eggs 
at one laying. The eggs are oval, and are each as large as 
the thirty-second part of an inch ; and when together are 
in the shape of a caraway comfit, and of a bluish-white 
color. They'll lay this quantity of eggs three times in a 
season. The young ones are hatched direct from the ^^g^ 
and, like young partridges, will often carry the broken eggs 



about with them, clinging to their back. They get their 
fore- quarters out, and then they run about before the other 
legs are completely cleared. 

"As soon as the bugs are born they are of a cream color, 
and will take to blood directly ; indeed, if they don't get it 
in two or three days, they die ; but after one feed they will 
live a considerable time without a second meal. I have 
known old bugs to be frozen over in a horse-pond — when 
the furniture had been thrown in the water — and there they 
have remained for a good three weeks ; still, after they have 
got a little bit warm in the sun's rays, they have returned to 
life again. 

" I myself kept bugs for five years and a half without 

food, and a housekeeper at Lord H 's informed me 

that an old bedstead that I was then moving from a store- 
room was taken down forty-five years ago, and had not been 
used since, but the bugs in it were still numerous, though as 
thin as living skeletons. They couldn't have lived upon the 
sap of the wood, it being worm-eaten arid dry as a bone. A 
bug will live for a number of years, and we find that when 
bugs are put away in old furniture without food, they don't 
increase in number ; so that, according to my belief, the bugs 
I just mentioned must have existed forty-five years : besides, 
they were large ones, and very dark colored, which is an- 
other proof of age. 

" It is a dangerous thing for bugs when they are shedding 
their skins, which they do about four times in the course of 
a year ; when they throw ofl* their hard shell and have a 
soft coat, so that the least touch will kill them ; whereas at 
other times they will take a strong pressure. I have plenty 
of bug-skins, which I keep by me as curiosities, of all sizes 
and colors, and sometimes I have found the young bugs 
collected inside the old ones' skins for warmth, as if they had 
put on their father's great-coat. There are white bugs — 
albinoes you may call 'em — freaks of nature like."^ 

^ London Labor and the London Poor, iii. 36-9. 


Notonectidse — Water-boatmen. 

Humboldt mentions that he saw insects' eggs sold in the 
markets of Mexico, which were collected on the surface of 
lakes. Under the name of Axayacat, these eggs, or those 
of some other species of fly, deposited on rush mats, are 
sold as a caviare in Mexico. Rev. Thomas Smith, who 
makes the same statement, also says the Mexicans likewise 
eat the flies themselves, ground and made up with saltpetre. 
Something similar to these eggs, found in the pools of the 
desert of Fezzan, serves the Arabs for food, having the taste 
of caviare. 

In the Bulletin de la Societe Imperiale Zoologique d'Ac- 
climation, M. Guerin Meneville has published a paper on a 
sort of bread which the Mexicans make of the eggs of 
three species of heteropterous insects. 

According to M. Craveri, by whom some of the Mexican 
bread, and of the insects yielding it, were brought to Europe, 
these insects and their eggs are very common in the fresh 
waters of the lagunes of Mexico. The natives cultivate, in 
the lagune of Chalco, a sort of carex called toute, on which 
the insects readily deposit their eggs. Numerous bundles 
of these plants are made, which are taken to a lagune, the 
Texcuco, where they float in great numbers in the water. 
The insects soon come and deposit their eggs on the plants, 
and in about a month the bundles are removed from the 
water, dried, and then beaten over a large cloth to separate 
the myriad of eggs with which the insects have covered 
them. These eggs are then cleaned and sifted, put into 
sacks like flour, and sold to the people for making a sort 
of cake or biscuit called "hautle," which forms a tolerably 
good food, but has a fishy taste, and is slightly acid. The 
bundles of carex are replaced in the lake, and afford a fresh 
supply of eggs, which process may be repeaited for an iu'deti- 
Dite number of times. 

It appears that these insects have been used from an 
early period, for Thomas Gage, a religionist, who sailed to 
Mexico in 1625, says, in speaking of articles sold in the 
markets, that they had cakes made of a sort of scum col- 
lected from the lakes of Mexico, and that this was also sold 
in other towns. 

Brantz Mayer, in his Mexico as it was and as it is, 1844, 


says: " On the lake of Texcuco I saw men occupied in col- 
lecting the eggs of flies from the surface of plants, and 
cloths arranged in long rows as places of resort for the 
insects. These eggs, called agayacath, formed a favorite 
food of the Indians long before the conquest ; and when 
made into cakes, resemble the roe of fish, having a similar 
taste and appearance. After the use of frogs in France, 
and birds'-nests in China, I think these eggs may be con- 
sidered a delicacy, and I found that they are not rejected 
from the tables of the fashionable inhabitants of the 

The more recent observations of MM. Saussure, Salle, 
Yirlet d' A oust, etc. have confirmed the facts already stated, 
at least in the most essential particulars. 

" The insects which principally produce this animal farinha 
of Mexico," says a writer in the Journal de Pharmacie, " are 
two species of the genus Gorixa of Geoffroy, hemipterous 
(heteropterous) insects of the family of water-bugs. One 
of the species has been described by M. Guerin Meneville as 
new, and has been named by him Corixa femorata : the 
other, identified in 1831 by Thomas Say as one of those sold 
in the market at Mexico, bears the name of Gorixa mercen- 
aria. The eggs of these two species are attached in innu- 
merable quantities to the triangular leaves of the carex 
forming the bundles which are deposited in the waters. 
They are of an oval form with a protuberance at one end 
and a pedicle at the other extremity, by means of which 
they are fixed to a small round disk, which the mother 
cements to the leaf Among these eggs, which are grouped 
closely together, there are found others, which are larger, of 
a long and cylindrical form, and which are fixed to the 
same leaves. These belong to another larger insect, a 
species of Notonecia, which M. Guerin Meneville has named 
Notonecta unifasciata.''^ 

It appears from M. Yirlet d'Aoust, that in October the 
lakes of Chalco and Texcuco, which border on the City of 
Mexico, are haunted by millions of "small flies," which, after 
dancing in the air, plunge down into the water, to the depth 
of several feet, and deposit tlieir eggs at the bottom, 

"The eggs of these insects are called hautle (haoutle) by 
the Mexican Indians, who collect them in great numbers, 
and with whom they appear to be a favorite article of food. 


They are prepared in various ways, but usually made into 
cakes, which are eaten with a sauce flavored with chillies."^ 
Rev. Thomas Smith enumerates the following insects as 
eaten by the ancient Mexicans : The Atelepitz, " a marsh 
beetle, resembling in shape and size the flying beetles, having 
four (?) feet, and covered with a hard shell." The Alojnnan, 
" a marsh grasshopper of a dark color and great size, 
being no less than six inches long and two broad. "(!) The 
Ahuihuitla, " a worm which inhabits the Mexican lakes, four 
inches long, and of the thickness of a goose quill, of a 
tawny color on the upper part of the body, and white upon 
the under part; it stings with its tail, which is hard and 
poisonous." And the Ocuiliztac, "a black marsh worm, 
which becomes white on being roasted."^ 

1 Annals of Nat. Hist. Simmond's Curiosities of Food, p. 308-311. 
'^Nature and Art, xii. 198. 


D I P T E R A. 

Culicidae — Gnats.^ 

Concerning the generation of Gnats, Moufet says : 
" Countrey people suppose them, and that not improbably, 
to be procreated from some corrupt moisture of the earth. "^ 

A battle of Gnats (probably an appearance of Ephemera) 
is recorded in Stow's Chronicles of England, p. 509, to have 
been fought in the reign of King Richard II.: *' A fighting 
among Gnats at the King's maner of Shine, where they were 
so thicke gathered, that the aire was darkened with them : 
they fought and made a great battaile. Two partes of them 
being slayne, fel downe to the grounde ; the thirde parte 
hauing got the victorie, flew away, no man knew whither. 
The number of the deade was such that they might be 
swept uppe with besomes, and bushels filled weyth them."^ 

In the year 1T36 the Gnats, Culex pipiens, were so 
numerous in England, that, as it is recorded, vast columns 
of them were seen to rise in the air from the steeple of the 
cathedral at Salisbury, which, at a little distance resembling 
columns of smoke, occasioned many people to think the edi- 
fice was on fire.* At Sagan, in Silesia, in July, 1812, a 
similar occurrence gave rise in like manner to an alarm 
that the church was on fire.^ In May of the following year 
at Norwich, at about six o'clock in the evening, the inhabit- 
ants of that city were alarmed by the appearance of smoke 
issuing from the upper window of the spire of the cathedral, 

^ Tlie numerous family of Culicidse are confounded under the com- 
mon names of Gnat and Mosquito; hence many mistakes will neces- 
sarily arise. 

2 Theat. Ins., p. 81. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 952. 

3 Quot. in N. & Q., ix. 3U3 

* Fhil. Trans., Ivii. 113; Bingley's Anim. Biog., iv. 205. 

* Germar's Mag. der Entoviol., i. 137. 



for which at the time no satisfactory account could be giv^en, 
but which was most probably produced by the same cause. ^ 
And in the year 1766, in the month of August, they ap- 
peared in such incredible numbers at Oxford as to resemble 
a black cloud, darkening the air and almost intercepting 
the rays of the sun. Mr. John Swinton mentions, that in 
the evening of the 20th, about half an hour before sunset, 
he was in the garden of Wadham College, when he saw six 
columns of these insects ascending from the tops of six 
boughs of an apple-tree, two in a perpendicular, three in an 
oblique direction, and one in a pyramidal form, to the height 
of fifty or sixty feet. Their bite was so envenomed, that 
it was attended by violent and alarming inflammation; and 
one when killed usually contained as much blood as would 
cover three or four square inches of wall.^ A similar column, 
of two or three feet in diameter and about twenty feet in 
height, was seen at eight o'clock in the evening of Sunday, 
July 14th, 1833, in Kensington Gardens. The upper por- 
tion of the column being curved to the east, the whole re- 
sembled the letter J inverted. The Gnats in every part of 
the column were in the liveliest motion.'^ The author of the 
"Faerie Queene" seems to have witnessed the like curious 
phenomenon, which furnished him with the following beau- 
tiful simile : 

As when a swarme of gnats at eventide 

Out of the fennes of Allan doe arise, 

Their murmuring small trumpets sownden wide, 

Whiles in the air their clust'ring army ilies, 

That as a cloud doth seem to dim the skies; 

Ne man nor beast may rest or take repast, 

For their sharp wounds and noyous injuries, 

Till the fierce northern wind with blust'ring blast 

Doth blow them quite away, and in the ocean cast. 

Ligon, in his History of Barbados, makes the following 
curious observation relative to a species of insects which he 
calls "Flyes," but which are more probably Gnats or Mos- 
quitoes : " There is not only a race of all these kinds, that 
go in a generation, but upon new occasions, new kinds ; as, 
after a great downfall of rain, when the ground has been 

1 K. & S. Introd., i. 114. 
^ Phil. Trans., Ivii. 112-3. 
» Mag. of Nat. Hist., vi. 545. 


extremely moistened, and softened with the water, I have 
walk'd out upon a dry walk (which I made my self) in an 
evening, and there came about me an army of such Flyes, 
as I had never seen before, nar after ; and they rose, as I 
conceived, out of the earth : They were as big bodied as 
Bees, but far larger wings, harm they did us none, but only 
lighted on us ; their colour between ash-colour and purple."^ 

If Gnats swarm in the summer in globular masses, it is 
supposed to prognosticate a storm. Moufet says: "If 
Gnats near sunset do play up and down in open air, they 
presage heat; if in the shade, warm and milde showers; 
but if they altogether sting those that passe by them, then 
expect cold weather and very much rain. ... If any one 
would finde water either in a hill or valley, let him observe 
(saith Paxanus in Geoponika) the sun rising, and where 
the Gnats whirle round in form of an obelisk, underneath 
there is water to be found. Yea, if Apomasaris deceive us 
not, dreams of Gnats do foretell news of war or a disease, 
and that so much the more dangerous as it shall be appre- 
hended to approach the more principall parts of the body."^ 

"On the 14th of December, 1830, at Oremburg, snow fell 
accompanied by a multitude of small black Gnats, whose 
motions were similar to those of a flea." This singular 
phenomenon was described at the session of the Academy 
of St. Petersburg, held February 21st, 1831.^ 

The pertinacity of the Culicidse frequently renders them 
a most formidable pest. Humboldt tells us "that between 
the little harbor of Higuerote and the mouth of the Rio 
Unare, the wretched inhabitants are accustomed to stretch 
themselves on the ground, and pass the night buried in the 
sand three or four inches deep, exposing only the head, 
which they cover with a handkerchief."* As another proof 
of the terrible state to which man is sometimes reduced by 
Mosquitoes, Captain Stedman relates that in one of his 

1 Hist, of Barbados fT^. 63. 

2 Theatr. Ins., p. 86. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 956. 

3 Silliman's Journal, xxii. 375. 

*■ Personal Narrative, E. T. v. 87. Humboldt has given a detailed 
account of these insect plagues, by which it appears that among 
them there are diurnal and crepuscular, as well as nocturnal spe- 
cies, or genera: tlie Mosquitoes, signifying little jiies (Simulia), tiy- 
ing in the day; the Temporaneros, flying during twilight; and the 
Zancudos, meaning long-legs [Culices), in the night. 


dreadful marches, the clouds of them were such, that the 
soldiers dug holes with their bayonets in the earth, mto 
which they thrust their heads, stopping the entry and cov- 
ering their necks with their hammocks, while they lay with 
their bellies on the ground: to sleep in any other position 
was absolutely impossible. He himself, by a negro's ad- 
vice, climbed to the top of the highest tree he could find, 
and there slung his hammock among the boughs, and slept 
exalted nearly a hundred feet above his companions, 
"whom," says he, "I could not see for the myriads of mos- 
quitoes below me, nor even hear, from the incessant buzzing 
of these troublesome insects."^ 

" The Gnats in America," says Moufet, ''do so plash and 
cut, that they will pierce through very thick clothing ; so 
that it is excellent sport to behold how ridiculously the bar- 
barous people, when they are bitten, will skip and frisk, and 
slap with their hands their thighs, buttocks, shoulders, arms, 
and sides, even as a carter doth his horses."^ Isaac Weld 
tells us that ''these insects were so powerful and blood- 
thirsty that they actually pierced through General Wash- 
ington's boots. "^ They probably crept within the boots, 
but the story is not incredible if we believe Moufet. This 
naturalist says : " In Italy, near the Po, great store and 
very great ones are to be seen, terrible for biting, and ven- 
omous, piercing -through a thrice-doubled stocking, and 
boots likewise (morsu crudeles et venenati, triplices call- 
gas, imo ocreas, item perforantes), sometimes leaving be- 
hind them impoysoned, hard, blue tumours, sometimes 
painful bladders, sometimes itching pimples, such as Hip- 
pocrates hath observed in his Epidemics, in the body of one 
Cyrus, a fuller, being frantic."* 

The poet Spenser, in his View of Ireland, says the Irish 
" goe all naked except a mantle, which is a fit house for an 
outlaw — a meet bed for a rebel — and an apt cloak for a 
thiefe. It coucheth him strongly against the Gnats, which, 
in that country, doe more to annoy the naked rebels, and 

1 Stedra. Surinam, ii. 93. 
^ Ins. Theatr., p. 82. 
8 Travels, 8vo. edit. p. 205. 
* Ins. Theatr., p. 81. 



doe more sliarplj wound them, than all their enemies' 
swords and speares, which can seldom come nigh them." 

Stewart says that the negroes of Jamaica, who cannot 
afford mosquito-nets, get into a mechanical habit of driving 
away these troublesome nocturnal visitors, that even when 
apparently wrapt in profound sleep, there is a continual 
movement of the hands.^ 

Herodotus says : "The means devised by the Egyptians 
to avoid the Gnats, which swarm in prodigious numbers, 
are these : Those who reside at some elevation above the 
marshes, avail themselves of towers which they ascend to 
sleep ; for the Gnats, to avoid the winds, do not fly high. 
While those who dwell on the very margins of the marshes, 
instead of towers, practise another contrivance. Everyman 
possesses a net, which, during the day, he employs in catch- 
ing fish, and which at night he uses as his bed-chamber, 
where he places it over his couch, and so sleeps ^^^thin it. 
For if any one," he concludes, " sleeps wrapped in a cloak 
or cloth, the Gnats will bite him through it; but they never 
attempt to penetrate the net."^ With regard to the con- 
clusion of Herodotus, that nets with meshes will effectually 
exclude Gnats, Tennent says he has "been satisfied by 
painful experience that (if the theory be not altogether 
fallacious) at least the modern mosquitoes of Ceylon are 
uninfluenced by the same considerations which restrained 
those of the Nile under the successors of Cambyses."^ 

Jackson complains that after a fifty-miles journey in 
Africa, the Gnats would not suffer him to rest, and that his 
hands and face appeared, from their bites, as if he was in- 
fected with the small-pox in its worst stage.* Dr. Clarke 
relates that in the neighborhood of the Crimea, the Russian 
soldiers are obliged to sleep in sacks to defend themselves 
from the mosquitoes ; and even this, he adds, is not a suffi- 
cient security, for several of them die in consequence of 
mortification produced by these furious blood-suckers.^ 

When we consider these circumstances, it is not incredi- 
ble that the army of Julian the Apostate should be so 

1 View of Jamaica, p 91. 

2 Herod. Taylor's Trans., p. 141. 

3 Nat. Hist, of Cei/lon, p. 435, 
* Jackson's Morocco, p. 57. 

& Travels, i. 388. 


fiercely attacked by these insects as to be driven baclv ; or 
tliat the inhabitants of various cities, as Mouffet has col- 
lected from different authors,^ should, by an extraordinary 
multiplication of this plague, have been compelled to desert 
them. Also the latter part of the following story, related 
by Theodoret, seems entitled to belief: When Sapor, King 
of Persia, says this historian, was besieging the Roman 
City of Nisibis in the year 360, James, Bishop of that city, 
ascended one of the towers, and " prayed that Flies and 
Gnats might be sent against the Persian hosts, that so they 
might learn from these small insects the great power of 
Him who protected the Romans." Scarcely had the 
Bishop concluded his prayer, continues Theodoret, when 
swarms of Flies and Gnats appeared like clouds, so that 
the trunks of the elephants were filled with them, as also 
were the ears and nostrils of the horses and of the other 
beasts of burden; and that, not being able to get rid of 
these insects, the elephants and horses threw their riders, 
broke the ranks, left the army, and fled away with the ut- 
most speed ; and this, he concludes, compelled the Persians 
to raise the siege. ^ 

"As the Cossacks of the Black Sea are no agriculturists," 
says Jaeger, " but derive their subsistence from their numer- 
ous herds of horses, oxen, sheep, goats, and hogs, they suffer 
immensely, at times, from the ravages of the mosquitoes. 
Although they are fortunately not seen every year, these 
blood-suckers may be considered a real Egyptian plague 
among the herds of these Cossacks ; for they soon trans- 
form the most delightful plains into a mournful, solitary 
desert, killing all the beasts, and completely stripping the 
fields of every animated creature. One thousand of these 
insatiate tormentors enter the nostrils, ears, eyes, and mouth 
of the cattle, who shortly after die in convulsions, or from 
secondary inflammation, or from absolute suffocation. In 
the small town of Elizabethpol alone, during the month 
of June, thirty horses, forty foals, seventy oxen, ninety 
calves, a hundred and fifty hogs, and four hundred sheep 
were killed by these flies. "^ 

Ammianus Marcellinus, in his Roman History, treating 

1 Ins. Theatr., p 85. 

2 Theod. Eccles. Hist., B. ii. cli. xxx. 
^ N.A.Ins., p. 317. 


of the wild beasts in Mesopotamia, gives us the following 
curious zoological theory on the destruction of lions by 
mosquitoes : 

"The lions wander in countless droves among the beds 
of rushes on the banks of the rivers of Mesopotamia, and in 
the jungles, and lie quiet all the winter, which is very mild 
in that country. But when the warm weather returns, as 
these regions are exposed to great heat, they are forced out 
by the vapours, and by the size of the Gnats, with swarms 
of which every part of that country is filled. And these 
winged insects attack the eyes, as being both moist and 
sparkling, sitting on and biting the eyelids; the lions, un- 
able to bear the torture, are either drowned in the rivers, to 
which they flee for refuge, or else, by frequent scratchings, 
tear their eyes out themselves with tli^r claws, and then 
become mad. And if this did not happen, the whole of the 
East would be overrun with beasts of this kind."^ 

I have never heard of mosquitoes being turned to any 
good account save in California; and there, it seems, ac- 
cording to Rev. Walter Colton, they are sometimes made 
the ministers of justice. A rogue had stolen a bag of gold 
from a digger in the mines, and hid it. Neither threats nor 
persuasions could induce him to reveal the place of its con- 
cealment. Ife was at last sentenced to a hundred lashes, 
and then informed that he would be let off with thirty, pro- 
vided he would tell what he had done with the gold ; but 
he refused. The thirty lashes were administered, but he 
was still stubborn as a mule. He was then stripped naked, 
and tied to a tree. The mosquitoes with their long bills 
went at him, and in less than three hours he was covered 
with blood. Writhing and trembling from head to foot 
with exquisite torture, he exclaimed, " Untie me, untie me, 
and I will tell where it is." " Tell first," was the reply. So 
he told where it might be found. Then some of the party 
with wisps kept ott" the still hungry mosquitoes, while 
others went where the culprit directed, and recovered the 
bag of gold. He was then untied, washed with cold water, 
and helped to his clothes, while he muttered, as if talking to 
himself, ''I couldn't stand that anyhow.'" 

The largest kind of mosquito in the valley of the lower 

1 Roman History, B. xviii. c. 7, § 5. 
^ Three Years in California, p. lioO, 


Mississippi is called the "Gallinipper." It is peculiarly 
described, by the boatmen, to be as large as a goose, and 
that it flies about at night with a brickbat under its wings 
with which it sharpens its "sting." 

The}^ tell a good story to show the superiority of the 
Gallinipper, over the ordinary Mosquito, in this wise. 
Some fellow made a bet that, for a certain length of time, 
he could stand the stings of the mosquitoes inflicted upon 
his bare back while he lay on his face. He stripped himself 
for the ordeal, and was bearing it manfully, when some mis- 
chievous spectator threw a live coal of fire on him. He 
winced, and, looking up by way of protest, exclaimed, "1 
bar (debar) the GalUnipper," 

The Culicidae, say Kirby and Spence, like other con- 
querors who have been the torment of the human race, 
have attained to fame, and have given their names to bays, 
towns, and even to considerable territories; and instance 
Mosquito Bay in St. Christopher's; Mosquito, a town in 
the Island of Cuba ; and the Mosquito Shore of Central 

Democritus says : " Horse-hair, stretched through the 
door, and through the middle of the house, destroys 
Gnats. "^ 

St. Macarius, Alban Butler says, was a confectioner of 
Alexandria, who, in the flower of his age, spent upwards of 
sixty years in the deserts in labor, penance, and contempla- 
tion. " Our Saint," continues Butler, ''happened one day to 
inadvertently kill a Gnat that was biting him in his cell; 
reflecting that he had lost the opportunity of suffering that 
mortification, he hastened from the cell for the marshes of 
Scete, which abound with great flies, whose stings pierce 
even wild boars. There he continued six months, exposed 
to those ravaging insects ; and to such a degree was his 
whole body disfigured by them with sores and swellings, 
that when he returned he was only to be known by his 
voice. "^ 

In the old English translation of the Bible, the observa- 
tion of our Saviour to the Pharisees, "Ye blind guides, 
which strain at a Gnat, and swallow a camel," is rendered 

1 Introd., i. 119. 

2 Owen's Gf.opom'ka, ii. 150. 
5 Lives of the Saints, i. 50. 



" which strain out a Gnat," and Bishop Pearce observes 
that this is conformable to the sense of the passage. An 
allusion is made to the custom which prevailed in Oriental 
countries of passing their wine and other liquors through a 
strainer, that no Gnats or flies might get into the cup. In 
the Fragments to Calmet, we are informed that there is a 
modern Arabic proverb to this effect, "He swallowed an 
elephant, but was strangled by a fly."^ 

Tipulidae — Crane-flies. 

The larv86 of a species of Agaric-Gnat {Mycetophila) 
live in society, and emigrate in files in a very soldier-like 
manner. First goes one, next follow two, then three, etc., 
so as to exhibit a singular serpentine appearance. The 
common people of Germany call this file heerwurm, and, 
it is said, view them with great dread, regarding them as 
ominous of war. •^ 

Maupertuis, in describing his ascent to Mount Pulinga, 
in Lapland, says: "They had to fell a w^hole wood of large 
trees, and the Flies (most probably Tipulidm) attack'd 'em 
with that fury, that the very soldiers, tho' hardeu'd to the 
greatest fatigues, were obliged to rap up their faces, or 
cover them with tar. These insects poison'd their victuals, 
for no sooner was a dish serv'd, but it was quite covered 
with them. "^ Maupertuis, in another place, says : "These 
Flies make Lapland less tolerable in the summer than the 
cold does in the winter."* The severity with which the 
Tipulidie torment the Laplanders is attested also by Acerby,^ 
Linna?us,^ I)e Geer," and Reaumur.^ 

1 Lawson's Bible Cyclop., ii. 558, 3 v. 8vo. 

2 Kirb. and Sp. Introd , ii. 8. 

3 GenLM'ig., 1738, viii. 577. •» Ibid., xxiv. 27-i. 

5 Travels, ii. 5; 34-5; 51. Lond. 1802. 4to. 

6 Lack. Lapp , ii. 108. Flor. Lapp., 380. 

7 V. vi. p. ti03-4. 

8 V. ix. p. 573. 


Muscidse — Flies. 

Among the instances recorded of Flies appearing in im- 
mense numbers, the following are the most remarkable : 

"When the Creole frigate was lying in the outer roads 
of "Buenos Ayres, in 1819, at a distance of six miles from 
the land, her decks and rigging were suddenly covered with 
thousands of Flies and grains of sand. The sides of the 
vessel had just received a fresh coat of paint, to which the 
insects adhered in such numbers as to spot and disfigure 
the vessel, and to render it necessary partially to renew the 
paint. Capt. W. H. Smyth was obliged to repaint his ves- 
sel, the Adventure, in the Mediterranean, from the same 
cause. He was on his way from Malta to Tripoli, when a 
southern wind blowing from the coast of Africa, then one 
hundred miles distant, drove such myriads of Flies upon the 
fresh paint that not the smallest point was left unoccupied 
by the insects."^ 

" In May, 1699, at Kerton," records Mrs. Thoresby, p. 15, 
"in Lincolnshire, the sky seemed to darken north-westward 
at a little distance from the town, as though it had been a 
shower of hailstones or snow; but when it came near the 
town, it appeared to be a prodigious swarm of Flies, which 
went with such a force toward the south east that persons 
were forced to turn their backs of thera."^ 

On the morning of the Hth of September, 1831, a small 
dipterous insect, belonging to Meigen's genus Chlorops, 
and nearly allied to, if not identical with, his G. Isela, ap- 
peared suddenly, and in such immense quantities, in one of 
the upper rooms of the Provost's Lodge, in King's College, 
Cambridge, that the greater part of the ceiling toward the 
window of the room was so thickly covered as not to be 
visible. They entered by a window looking due north, 
while the wind was blowing steadily N. N. W. So it ap- 
pears they came from the direction of the River Cam, or 
rather came with its current.^ 

In the summer of 1834, which season was remarkable in 
England for its swarms and shoals of insects, the air was 

1 Lyell's Priixc. of Geol, p. 656 . 

2 Southey's Com. Place Bk , 1st S. p. 567. 

3 Maq. of Nat. Hist . V. 302. 


constantly filled, says a writer in The Mirror, with millions 
of small delicate Flies, and the sea in many places, particu- 
larly on the Norfolk coasts, was perfectly blackened by the 
amazing shoals. The len2:th of these masses was not de- 
termined ; but they were, it is asserted, at least a league 
broad. It is said the oldest fishermen of those seas never 
remembered having seen or heard of such a phenomenon.^ 

Capt. Dampier calls the natives of New Holland the 
"poor winking people of New Holland," and concludes his 
description of them with the following observations : " Their 
eyelids are always half closed, to keep the Flies out of their 
eyes, they being so troublesome here that no fanning will 
keep them from coming to one's face ; and without the as- 
sistance of both hands to keep them off they will creep into 
one's nostrils, and mouth, too, if the lips are not shut very 
close. So that from their infancy, being thus annoyed with 
these insects, they do never open their eyes as ottier people, 
and therefore they cannot see far, unless they hold up their 
heads, as if they were looking at something over them."^ 

In a house at Zaffraan-craal, Dr. Sparrman suffered so 
much from the common House-fly, Masca domestica, 
which, in the south of Africa, frequently appears in such 
prodigious numbers as to cover almost entirely the walls 
and ceilings, that, as he asserts, it was impossible for him to 
keep within doors for any length of time. To get rid of 
these troublesome pests, the natives resort to a very inge- 
nious contrivance. It is thus related by the above-men- 
tioned traveler: "Bunches of herbs are hung up all over the 
ceiling, on which the Flies settle in great numbers; a person 
then takes a linen net or bag, of a considerable depth, fixed 
to a long handle, and, inclosing in it every bunch, shakes it 
about, so that the Flies fall down to the bottom of the 
bag : when, after several applications of it in this manner, 
they are killed by a pint or a quart at a time, by dipping 
the bag into scalding hot water. "^ 

Rhasis, Avicen, and Albertus say: "Bury the tail of a 
wolf in the house, and the Flies will not come into it."* 

1 The Mirror, xxvii. 68. 

2 Damp. Voy. (vol. i.), 464. 

3 Travels, i. 211. 

* Moufofs Theat. Ins., p. 78. 


Berytius says : " Flies will never rest on dumb animals if 
tliey are rubbed with the fat of a lion."^ 

Pliny says : "At Rome yee shall not have a Flie or dog 
that will enter into the chappell of Hercules standing in the 
beast market."^ 

Plutarch, in the Eighth Book of his Syraposiaques, learn- 
edly discourses upon the tamableness of the Fly. His opin- 
ion is that it cannot be tamed. ^ 

Moufet, in his Theater of Insects, says : " Many ways 
doth nature also by Flies play with the fancies of men in 
dreams, if we may credit Apomasaris in his Apotelesms. 
For the Indians, Persians, and ^Egyptians do teach, that 
if Flies appear to us in our sleep, it doth signifie an herauld 
at arms, or an approaching disease. If a general of an 
army, or a chief commander, dream that at such or such a 
place he should see a great company of Flies, in that very 
place, wherever it shall be, there he shall be in anguish and 
grief for his soldiers that are slain, his army routed, and the 
victory lost. If a mean or ordinary man dream the like, 
he shall fall into a violent fever, which likely may cost him 
his life. If a man dream in his sleep that Flies went into 
his mouth or nostrils, he is to expect with great sorrow and 
grief imminent destruction from his enemies."* 

In an English North country chap-book, entitled the 
Royal Dreara-book, we find: "To dream of Flies or other 
vermin, denotes enemies of all sorts. "^ 

" When we see," says Hollingshed, " a great number of 
Flies in a yeare, we naturallie iudge it like to be a great 

Among the deep-sea fishermen of Greenock (Scotland), 
there is a most comical idea that if a Fly falls into a glass 
from which any one has been drinking, or is about to drink, 
it is considered a sure omen of good luck to the drinker, 
and is always noticed as such by the company.'^ Has this 

1 Owen's Geopo)iika, ii. 152, 

2 JVat. Hist., X, 29. Holland, p. 285. D, 

3 Holl. Trans., p. 631. 

Vide Pierius' Hieroglyph., p. 268-9. Iniportunitas ac impudentia 
Pertinacia ;, Res gesta cominus ; Indocilitas ; Cynici. 
* The.atr. Im., p. 70. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 945. 

5 Brand's Pop. Aniiq., iii. 184, 

6 Chron. of Eng., iii. 1002. 

7 N. and Q., xii. 488, 


any connection with our saying of "taking a glass with a 
Jlij in it ?" 

If Flies die in great numbers in a house, it is believed by 
the common people to be a sure sign of death to some one 
in the family occupying it ; if throughout the country, an 
omen of general pestilence. It is positively asserted that 
Flies always die before the breaking out of the cholera, and 
believed that they die of this disease. 

Moufet, in his Theater of Insects, says : " When the Flies 
bite harder than ordinary, making at the face and eyes of 
men, they foretell rain or wet weather, from whence Politian 
hath it : 

Thirsty for blood tlie Fly returns, 
And with his sLing the skin he burns. 

Perhaps before rain they are most hungry, and therefore, 
to asswage their hunger, do more diligently seek after their 
food. This also is to be observed, that a little before a 
showre or a storme comes, the Flies descend from the upper 
region of the air to the lowest, and do fly, as it were, on the 
very surface of the earth. Moreover, if you see them very 
busie about sweet-meats or unguents, you may know that it 
will presently be a showre. But if they be in all places 
many and numerous, and shall so continue long (if Alex- 
ander Benedict and Johannes Damascenus say true), they 
foretell a plague or pestilence, because so many of them 
could not be bred of a little putrefaction of the air."^ Else- 
where Moufet states: "Neither are Flies begotten of dung 
only, but of any other filthy matter putrefied by heat in the 
summer time, and after the same way spoken of before, as 
Grapaldus and Lonicerus have very well noted." ^ 

Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 135, says: "Flies in 
the spring or summer season, if they grow busier or blinder 
than at other times, or that they are observed to shroud 
themselves in warm places, expect then quickly to follow 
either hail, cold storms of rain, or very much wet weather ; 
and if these little creatures are noted early in autumn to 
repair into their winter quarters, it presages frosty morn- 
ings, cold storms, with the approach of hoary winter. 
Atomes of Flies swarming together, and sporting them- 
selves in the sunbeams, is a good omen of fair weather."^ 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 70. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 944. 

2 Ihid., p. 55. Topsel, p. 938. 

3 Brand's Fop. Antiq., ill. 191. 


In Gayton's Pleasant Notes upon Don Quixot, 1654, p. 
99, speaking of Sancho Panza's having converted a cassock 
into a wallet, onr pleasant annotator observes : " It was ser- 
viceable, after this greasie nse, for nothing but to preach at 
a carnivale or Shrove Tuesday, and to tosse Pancakes in 
after the exercise ; or else, if it could have been conveighed 
thither, nothing more proper for a man that preaches the 
Cook's sermon at Oxford, when that plump society rides 
upon their governour's horses to fetch in the Enemie, the 
riie." That there was such a custom at Oxford, let Peshall, 
in his history of that city, be a voucher, who, speaking of 
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, p. 280, says : " To this Hos- 
pital cooks from Oxford flocked, bringing in on Whitsun- 
week the Fly." Aubrey saw this ceremony performed in 
1642. He adds: "On Michaelmas-day, they rode thither 
again to carry the Fly away."^ 

Plutarch, in his disquisition on the Art of Discerning a 
Flatterer from a Friend, makes the following curious com- 
parison : "The Gad-Flie (as they say) which useth to 
plague bulles and oxen, setteth about their eares, and 
so doth the tick deal b}^ dogges : after the same manner, 
flatterers take hold of ambitious mens eares, and possesse 
them with praises; and being once set fast there, hardly 
are they to be removed and chased away."^ 

Plautus twice compares envious and inquisitive persons 
to Flies.^ 

In a narrative of unheard-of Popish cruelties toward 

1 Brand's Pop. Antiq., i. 84. 

2 Holl. Trans., p. 76, There was one time a law at Athens, which 
a good deal nonplussed these sponging gentlemen so appropriately 
called Flies. " It was decreed that not more than thirty persons 
should meet at a marriage feast; and a wealthy citizen, desirous of 
going as far as the law wovild allow him, had invited the full com- 
plement. An honest Fly, however, who respected no law that in- 
terfered with his stomach, contrived to introduce himself, and took 
his station at the lower end of the table. Presently the magistrate 
appointed for the purpose entered, and espying his man at a glance, 
began counting the guests, commencing on the other side and end- 
ing with the parasite. 'Friend,' said he, 'you must retire. I find 
there is one more than the hiw allows.' 'It is quite a mistake, sir,' 
replied the Fly, ' as you will find if you will have the goodness to 
count again, beginning on this side.' " — St. John's 3Ian. and Cust. of 
And. Grec, ii. 172. 

3 Vide Mercator, A. ii. Sc. 4, and the Young Carthag.^ A. iii. Sc. 3. 


Protestants beyond Seas, printed in 1680, we find the in- 
sinuating detectiv^es of the Spanish Inquisition under the 
name of Flies.^ 

Flies are mentioned somewhere in Lyndwood as the em- 
blem of unclean thoughts.^ 

Flies were driven away when a woman was in labor, for 
fear she should bring forth a daughter.^ 

Flies are found represented in the pottery of the ancient 

Flies ( Cuspi) were sacrificed to the Sun by the ancient 

" To let a Flee (Fly) stick i' the wa' " is, in Scotland, 
not to speak on some particular topic, to pass it over with- 
out remark.^ 

''Certes, a strange thing it is of these Flies," says Pliny, 
'' which are taken to be as senselesse and witlesse creatures, 
3^ea, and of as little capacity and understanding as any other 
whatsoever : and yet at the solemne games and plaies holden 
every fifth yeare at Olympia, no sooner is the bull sacrificed 
there to the Idoll or god of the Flies called Myiodes, but a 
man shall see (a wonderful thing to tell) infinit thousand 
of flies depart out of that territorie by flights, as it were 
thick clouds.'" 

This Myiodes or Maagrus, the "Fly-catcher," was the 
name of a hero, invoked at Aliphera, at the festivals of 
Athena, as the protector against Flies. It was also a sur- 
name of Hercules. 

The following rendering of the second verse of the first 
chapter of the Second Book of Kings, by Josephus, contains 
an allusion to the worship of Baalzebub under the form of 
a Fly : "Now it happened that Ahaziah, as he was coming 
down from the top of his house, fell down from it, and in his 
sickness sent to the Fly (Baalzebub), which was the god of 
Ekron, for that was this god's name, to enquire about his 

With reference to this worship, we read in Purchas's 

1 Harleian MisceL, viii. 423. 

2 Fosbr. Enrycl. of Antiq., ii. 738. ^ Ibid. 
* Wilkinson's And. Egypt., 2d S. ii. 12G, 200. 

5 Hawk's Peruvian Antiq , p. 197. 

6 Jamieson's Scottish Diet. 

T Nat. Hist., xxix. 6. Holl. Tram., p. 364. K. 

8 Antiq. of the Jews, B. ix. c. 2. Winston's Trans., p. 274. 


Pilgrims : "At Accaron was worshipped Baalzehuh, that 
is, the Lord of the Flies, either of contempt of his idolatrie, 
so called; or rather of the multitude of Flies, which at- 
tended the multitude of his sacrifices, when from the sacri- 
fices at the Temple of Jerusalem, as some say, they were 
wholly free : or for that hee was their Larder-god (as the 
Roman Hercules) to drive away flies : or for that from a 
forme of a Flie, in which he was worshipped. . . . But for 
Beelzebub, he was their jEsculapius or Physicke god, as 
appeareth by Ahaziah who sent to consult with him in his 
sickness. And perhaps from this cause the blaspheming 
Pharisies, rather applyed the name of this then any other 
Idoll to our blessed Saviour (Math. x. 25) whom they saw 
indeed to performe miraculous cures, which superstition 
had conceived of Baalzehuh: and if any thing were done 
by that Idoll, it could by no other cause bee effected but by 
the Devill, as tending (like the popish miracles) to the con- 
firmation of Idolatrie."^ 

This god of the Flies was so called, thinks Whiston, as 
was Jove among the Greeks, from his supposed power over 
Flies, in driving them away from the flesh of their sacrifices, 
which otherwise would have been very troublesome to 

It has been conjectured that the Fly, under which Baal- 
zebub was represented, was the Tumble-bug, Scarahseus 
pilluarius ; in which case, says Dr. Smith, Baalzebub and 
Beelzebub might be used indifferently.^ 

''Urspergensis saith that the Devil did very frequently 
appear in the form of a Fly ; whence it was that some of 
the heathens called their familiar spirit Musca or Fly : per- 
chance alluding to that of Plautus : 

Hie pol musca est, mi pater, 

Sive profanum, sive publicum, nil clam 

ilium haberi potest : 
Quin adsit ibi illico, et rem omnem tenet. — 

This man, O my father, is a Fly, nothing can be concealed 
from him, be it secret or publick, he is presently there, and 
knowes all the matter."* 

1 Pilg., V. 81. Fol. 1626. 

2 Whiston's Trans. ofJosephus, p. 274, note. 

3 Diet, of Bible. 

* Moufet, Theatr. Ins., p. 79. Topsel's TransL, p. 951. 

294 MUSCID.^ — FLIES. 

Lokc, the deceiver of tlie gods, is faljled in the Xorthern 
Mythology, to have metamorphosed himself into a Fly: 
and demons, in the shape of Fhes, were kept imprisoned 
by the Finlanders, to be let loose on men and beasts.^ 

In Scotland, a tutelary Fly, believed immortal, presided 
over a fountain in the county of Banff: and here also a 
large blue Fly, resting on the bark of trees, was distin- 
guished as a witch.2 

Among the games and plays of the ancient Greeks was 
the XaA/.r^ Mola, or Brazen Fly : — a variety of blind-man's- 
buff, in which a boy having his eyes bound with a fillet, 
went groping round, calling out, "I am seeking the Brazen 
Fly." His companions replied, " You may seek, but you 
will not find it" — at the same time striking him with cords 
made of the inner bark of the papyros ; and thus they pro- 
ceeded till one of them was taken.^ 

This is most probably an allusion to some species of Fly 
of a bronze color which is most difficult to catch, as, for 
instance, the little fly found in summer beneath arbors, ap- 
parently standing motionless in the air. 

Petrus Ramus tells us of an iron Fly, made by Regio- 
montanus, a famous mathematician of Nuremberg, which, 
at a feast, to which he had invited his familiar friends, flew 
forth from his hand, and taking a round, returned to his 
hand again, to the great astonishment of the beholders. 
Du Bartas thus expresses this : 

Once as this artist, more with mirth than meat, 

Feasted some friends whom he esteemed great, 

Forth from his hand an iron Fly flew out; 

Which having flown a perfect round-about, 

With weary wings return'd unto her master: 

And as judicious on his arm he plac'd her. 

0! wit divine, that in the narrow womb 

Of a small fly, could find sufficient room 

For all those springs, wheels, counterpoise and chains, 

Which stood instead of life, and blood, and veins !* 

We find also in a work bearing the title " Apologie pour 
les Grands Homines Accuses de Magie," that "Jean de 
Montro3^al presented to the Emperor Charles Y. an iron 

1 Dalyell's Darker Superst. of Scotland, p 562. Edinbgh. 1834. 

2 I hid. 

3 St. Johri's Man. and Cust. of Anct. Grec, i. 150. 
* Wanley's Wonders, i. 377. 


riy, which made a solemn circuit round its inventor's head, 
and then reposed from its fatigue on his arm." — Probably 
the same automaton, since Regiomontanus and Montroyal 
are the same. 

Such a Fly as the above is rather extraordinary, yet I 
have something better to tell — still about a Fly. 

Gervais, Chancellor to the Emperor Otho III., in his 
book entitled " Otia Imperatoris," informs us that "the sage 
Yirgilius, Bishop of Naples, made a brass Fly, which he 
placed on one of the city gates, and that this mechanical 
Fly, trained like a shepherd's dog, prevented any other fly 
entering Naples; so much so, that during eight years the 
meat exposed for sale in the market was never once 
tainted !"^ 

"Yarro affirmeth," says Pliny, "that the heads of Flies 
applied fresh to the bald place, is a convenient medicine for 
the said infirmity and defect. Some use in this case the 
bloud of flies : others mingle their ashes with the ashes of 
paper used in old time, or els of nuts; with this proportion, 
that there be a third part only of the ashes of flies to the 
rest, and herewith for ten days together rubb the bare 
places where the hair is gone. Some there be againe, who 
temper and incorporat togither the said ashes of Flies with 
the juice of colewort and brest-milke : others take nothing 
thereto but honey. "^ 

Mucianus, who was thrice consul, carried about him a 
living Fly, says Pliny, wrapped in a piece of white linen, 
and strongly asserted that to the use of this expedient he 
owed his preservation from ophthalmia.^ 

Ferdinand Mendez Pinto says: "In our travels with the 
ambassador of the King of Bramaa to the Calarainham, we 
saw in a grot men of a sect of one of their Saints, named 
Angemacur: these lived in deep holes, made in the mider 
of the rock, according to the rule of their wretched order, 
eating nothing but Flies, Ants, Scorpions, and Spiders, 
with the juice of a certain herb, much like to sorrel."* 

Says Moufet, in his Theater of Insects: "Plutarch, in 
his Artaxerxes, relates that it was a law amongst a certain 

1 Mem. ofRobt. Iloudin, p. 150. Philad. 1859. 
"^ Nat. Hist., xxix. 6. Holland's Trans., p. 364. I. 
^Ibid., xxviii. 2 (5). 
* Voy., C. 56, p. 222. Wanley's }Vonders, ii. 3V3. 


people, that whosoever should be so bold as to laugh at and 
deride their lawes and constitutions of state, was bound for 
twenty daies together in an open chest naked, all besmeared 
with honey and milk, and so became a prey to the Flies and 
Bees, afterward when the days were expired he was put into 
a woman's habit and thrown headlong down a mountain. . . 
Of which kinde of punishment also Suidas makes mention 
in his Epicurus. There was likewise for greater offenders, 
a punishment of Boats, so called. For that he that was 
convict of high treason, was clapt between two boats, 
with his head, hands, and feet hanging out : for his drink he 
had milk and honey powred down his throat, with which also 
his head and hands were sprinkled, then being set against 
the sun, he drew to him abundance of stinging Flies, and 
within being full of their worms, he putrefied by little and 
little, and so died. Which kinde of examples of severity as 
the ancients shewed to the guilty and criminous offenders; 
so on the other side the Spaniards in the Indies, used to 
drive numbers of the innocents out of their houses, as the 
custome is among them, naked, all bedawbed with honey, 
and expose them in open air to the biting of most cruel 

Mr. Henry Mayhew, in that part of his interesting work 
on London Labor and London Poor devoted to the London 
Street-folk, has given us the narratives of several " Catch- 
'em- Alive" sellers — a set of poor boys who sell prepared 
papers for the purpose of catching Flies. Rediscovered, as 
he relates, a colony of these " Catch-'em-alive" boys residing 
in Pheasant-court, Gray's-inn-lane. They were playing at 
"pitch-and-toss" in the middle of the paved yard, and all 
were very willing to give him their statements ; indeed, the 
only difficulty he had was in making his choice among the 

" Please, sir," said one with teeth ribbed like celery, to him, 
" I've been at it longer than him." 

"Please, sir, he ain't been out this year with the papers," 
said another, who was hiding a handful of buttons behind 
his back. 

"He's been at shoe-blacking, sir; I'm the only reg'lar 
fly-^oy»" shouted a third, eating a piece of bread as dirty as 
London snow. 

1 Theatr. Ins., p. 79. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 951. 


A bio; lad' with a dirty face, and hair like hemp, was the 
first of the "catch-'era-alive" boys who gave him his account 
of his trade. He was a swarthy featured boy, with a broad 
nose like a negro's, and on his temple was a big half- healed 
scar, which he accounted for by saying that " he had been 
runned over" by a cab, though, judging from the blackness 
of one eye, it seemed to Mr. Mayhew to have been the re- 
sult of some street fight. He said : 

" I'm an Irish boy, and nearly turned sixteen, and I've 
been silling fly-papers for between eight and nine year. I 
must have begun to sill them when they first come out. 
Another boy first tould me of them, and he'd been silling 
them about three weeks before me. He used to buy them 
of a party as lives in a back-room near Drury-lane, what 
buys paper and makes the catch 'em alive for himself. 
Wlien they first come out they used to charge sixpence a 
dozen for 'em, but now they've got 'em to twopence ha'penny. 
When I first took to silling 'em, there was a tidy lot of boys 
at the business, but not so many as now, for all the boys 
seem at it. In our court alone I should think there was 
about twenty boys silling the things. 

"At first, when there was a good time, we used to buy 
three or four gross together, but now we don't no more than 
half a gross. As we go along the streets we call out dif- 
ferent cries. Some of us says, 'Fly-papers, fly-papers, 
ketch 'em all alive.' Others make a kind of song of it, 
singing out, 'Fly-paper, ketch 'em all alive, the nasty flies, 
tormenting the baby's eyes. Who'd be fly-blow'd, by all the 
nasty blue-bottles, beetles, and flies?' People likes to buy 
of a boy as sings out well, 'cos it makes 'em laugh. 

"I don't think I sell so many in town as I do in the bor- 
ders of the country, about Highbury, Croydon, and Brent- 
ford. I've got some regular customers in town about the 
City-prison and the Caledonian-road; and after I've served 
them and the town custom begins to fall otf, then I goes to 
the country. We goes two of us together, and we takes 
about three gross. We keep on silling before us all the 
way, and we comes back the same road. Last year we 
sould very well in Croydon, and it was the best place for 
gitting the best price for them; they'd give a penny a piece 
for 'em there, for they didn't know nothing about them. I 
went off one day at ten o'clock and didn't come home till 



two in the morning, I sould eighteen dozen' out in that 
d'rection the other day, and got rid of them before I had 
got half-way. But flies are very scarce at Croydon this year, 
and we haven't done so well. There ain't half as many flies 
this summer as last. 

" Some people says the papers draws more flies than they 
ketches, and that when one gets in, there's twenty others will 
come to see him. It's according to the weather as the flies 
is about. If we have a fine day it fetches them out, but a 
cold day kills more than our papers. 

" We sills the most papers to little cook-shops and sweet- 
meat shops. We don't sill so many at private houses. The 
public-houses is pretty good customers, 'cos the beer draws 
the flies. I sould nine dozen at one house — a school — at 
Highgate, the other day. I sould 'em two for three-ha' 
pence. That was a good hit, but then t'other days we loses. 
If we can make a ha'penny each we thinks we does well. 

" Those that sills their papers at three a-penny buys them 
at St. Giles's, and pays only three ha'pence a dozen for them, 
but they ain't half as big and good as those we pays tup- 
pence-ha'penny a dozen for. 

" Barnet is a good place for fly-papers; there's a good lot 
of flies down there. There used to be a man at Barnet as 
made 'era, but I can't say if he do now. There's another 
at Brentford, so it ain't much good going that way. 

"In cold weather the papers keep pretty well, and will 
last for months with just a little warming at the fire ; for 
they tears on opening when they are dry. You see we 
always carry them with the stickey sides doubled up together 
like a sheet of writing-paper. In hot weather, if you keep 
them folded up, they lasts very well ; but if you opens them, 
they dry up. It's easy opening them in hot weather, for 
they comes apart as easy as peeling a horrange. We gener- 
ally carries the papers in a bundle on our arm, and we ties 
a paper as is loaded with flies round our cap, just to show 
the people the way to ketch 'em. We get a loaded paper 
given to us at a shop. 

" When the papers come out first, we use to do very well 
with fly-papers ; but now it's hard work to make our own 
money for 'em. Some days we used to make six shillings a 
day regular. But then we usen't to go out every day, but 
take a rest at home. If we do well one day, then we might 
stop idle another day, resting. You see, we had to do our 


twenty or thirty miles silling them to get that money, and 
then the next day we was tired. 

"The silling of papers is gradual falling off. I could go 
out and sill twenty dozen wonst where I couldn't sill one 
now. I think I does a very grand day's work if I yearns 
a shilling. Perhaps some days I may lose by them. You 
see, if it's a very hot day, the papers gets dusty ; and be- 
sides, the stuff gets melted and oozes out ; though that 
don't do much harm, 'cos we gets a bit of whitening and 
rubs 'em over. Four years ago we might make ten shillings 
a day at the papers, but now, taking from one end of the 
fly-season to the other, which is about three months, I think 
we makes about one shilling a day out of papers, though 
even that ain't quite certain. I never goes out without 
getting rid of mine, somehow or another, but then I am 
obleeged to walk quick and look about me. 

" When it's a bad time for silling the papers, such as a 
wet, could day, then most of the fly-paper boys goes out with 
brushes, cleaning boots. Most of the boys is now out hop- 
ping. They goes reg'lar every year after the season is give 
over for flies. 

" The stuff as they puts on the paper is made out of boiled 
oil and turpentine and resin. It's seldom as a fly lives more 
than five minutes after it gets on the paper, and then it's as 
dead as a house. The blue-bottles is tougher, but they don't 
last long, though they keeps on fizzing as if they was trying 
to make a hole in the paper. The stuff is only p'isonous for 
flies, though I never heard of anybody as ever eat a fly- 

A second lad, in conclusion, said: "There's lots of boys 
going selling 'ketch-'em-alive oh's'from Golden-lane, and 
White-chapel and the Borough. There's lots, too, comes 
out of Gray's-inn-lane and St. Giles's. Near every boy who 
has nothing to do goes out with fly-papers. Perhaps it ain't 
that the flies is failed off that we don't sill so many papers 
now, but because there's so many boys at it." 

A third, of the lot the most intelligent and gentle in his 
demeanor, though the smallest in stature, said : 

"Pve been longer at it than the last boy, though I'm only 
getting on for thirteen, and he's older than I'm ; 'cos I'm 
little and he's big, getting a man. But I can sell them 
quite as well as he can, and sometimes better, for I can 
holler out just as loud, and I've got reg'lar places to go to. I 


was a very little fellow when I first went out with them, but 
I could sell them pretty well then, sometimes three or four 
dozen a day. I've got one place, in a stable, where I can 
sell a dozen at a time to country people. 

" I calls out in the streets, and I goes into the shops, too, 
and calls out, * Ketch 'em alive, ketch 'em alive ; ketch all 
the nasty black-beetles, blue-bottles, and flies ; ketch 'em 
from teasing the baby's eyes.' That's what most of us boys 
cries out. Some boys who is stupid only says, 'Ketch 'em 
alive,' but people don't buy so well from them. 

"Up in St. Giles's there is a lot of fly-boys, but they're a 
bad set, and will fling mnd at gentlemen, and some prigs the 
gentlemen's pockets. Sometimes, if I sell more than a big 
boy, he'll get mad and hit me. He'll tell me to give him a 
halfpenny and he won't touch me, and that if I don't he'll 
kill me. Some of the boys takes an open fly-paper, and 
makes me look another way, and then they sticks the ketch- 
'era-alive on my face. The stufi" won't come otf without soap 
and hot water, and it goes black, and looks like mud. One 
day a boy had a broken fly-paper, and I was taking a drink 
of water, and he come behind me and slapped it up in my face. 
A gentleman as saw him give him a crack with a stick and 
me twopence. It takes your breath away, until a man comes 
and takes it ofi". It all sticked to my hair, and I couldn't 
rack (comb) right for some time .... 

"I don't like going along with other boys, they take your 
customers away ; for perhaps they'll sell 'em at three a penny 
to 'em, and spoil the customers for you. I won't go with 
the big boy you saw, 'cos he's such a blackgeyard ; when 
he's in the country he'll go up to a lady and say, ' Want a 
fly-paper, marra?' and if she says 'No,' he'll perhaps job 
his head in her face — butt at her like. 

" When there's no flies, and the ketch-'em-alive is out, 
then I goes tumbling. I can turn a cat'enwheel over on 
one hand. I'm going to-morrow to the country, harvesting 
and hopping — for, as we says, ' Go out hopping, come in jump- 
ing.' We start at three o'clock to-morrow, and we shall 
get about twelve o'clock at night at Dead Man's Barn. It 
was left for poor people to sleep in, and a man was buried 
there in a corner. The man had got six farms of hops ; and 
if his son hadn't buried him there, he wouldn't have had 
none of the riches. 

"The greatest number of fly-papers I've sold in a day is 


about eight dozen. I never sells no more than that ; I wish 
I could. People won't buy 'em now. When I'm at it I 
makes, taking one day with another, about ten shillings a 
week. You see, if I sold eight dozen, I'd make four shillings. 
I sell 'em at a penny each, at two for three-ha'pence, and 
three for twopence. When they gets stale I sells 'em for 
three a penny. I always begin by asking a penny each, and 
perhaps they'll say, ' Give me two for three ha'pence V I'll 
say, * Can't, ma'am,' and then they pulls out a purse full of 
money and gives a penny. 

" The police is very kind to us, and don't interfere with 
us. If they see another boy hitting us they'll take off their 
belts and hit 'em. Sometimes I've sold a ketch-'em-alive to 
a policeman; he'll fold it up and put it into his pocket to 
take home with him. Perhaps he's got a kid, and the flies 
teazes its eyes. 

" Some ladies like to buy fly-cages better than ketch-'em- 
alive's, because sometimes when they're putting 'em up they 
falls in their faces, and then they screams." 

The history of the manufacture of Fly-papers was thus 
given to Mr. Mayhew by a manufacturer, whom he found in 
a small attic-room near Drury-lane : "The first man as was 
the inventor of these fly-papers kept a barber's shop in St. 
Andrew-street, Seven Dials, of the name of Greenwood or 
Greenfinch, I forget which. I expect he diskivered it by ac- 
cident, using varnish and stuff, for stale varnish has nearly 
the same effect as our composition. He made 'em and sold 
'em at first at threepence and fourpence a piece. Then it 
got down to a penny. He sold the receipt to some other 
parties, and then it got out through their having to employ 
men to help 'em. I worked for a party as made 'em, and 
then I set to work making 'em for myself, and afterwards 
hawking them. They was a greater novelty then than they 
are now, and sold pretty well. Then men in the streets, 
who had nothing to do, used to ask me where I bought 'em, 
and then I used to give 'em my own address, and they'd 
come and find me."^ 

1 London Lab. and London Poor, iii. 28-33. 


Oestridse — Bot-flies. 

The larvos of Bots, Q^stris oin's, found in the heads of 
sheep and ^oats, have been prescribed, and that, from the tri- 
pod of Delphos, as a remedy for the epilepsy. We are told 
so on the authority of Alexander Trallien ; but whether 
Deraocritus, who consulted the oracle, was cured by this 
remedy, does not appear; the story shows, however, that 
the ancients were aware that these magp^ots made their way 
even into the brain of living animals.^ The oracle answered 
Democritus as follows : 

Take a tame goat that Lath the greatest head, 
Or else a wilde goat in the field that's bred, 
And in his foi^ehead a great worm you'l finde, 
This cures all diseases of that kinde. ^ 

The common saying that a whimsical person is maggoty, 
or has got maggots in his head, perhaps arose from the 
freaks the sheep have been observed to exhibit when in- 
fested by their Bots.^ 

The following "charme for the Bots* in a horse" is 
found in Scots' Discovery of Witchcraft, printed in 1G51 : 
"You must both say and do thus upon the diseased horse 
three days together, before the sun rising : la nomine pa'f- 
tris & fi-\lii & Spiritusfsancti, Exorcize te vermen per 
Deum pa\trem & fi^lium S Spirituni'f sanctum : that is, In 
the name of God the father, the sonne, and the Holy Ghost, 
I conjure thee worm bv God, the Father, the sonne, and 
the Holy Ghost; that thou neither eate nor drink the flesh, 
blood, or bones of this horse; and that thou hereby maiest 
be made as patient as Job, and as good as S. John Baptist, 
when he baptized Christ in Jordan, In nomine pa-\tris & 
Ji'flii et spnritus^^sancti. And then say three Pater nosters, 
and three Aves, in the right eare of the horse, to the glory 
of the holy trinity. Dof minus filifus spiritfus Marifa."^ 

There is a popular error in England respecting the (Edrus 
(Gasterophilus) equi (Jiaemori-hoidalis), which Shakspeare 

1 Kirb. and Sp. Introd., i, 158. 

3 Theatr. Ins., p. 284. Topsel's Ilist. of Beasts, p 1107, 1122. 

' Kirby and Spence, Introd., i. 158. 

* Gasterophilus equi. 

5 Reg. Scot's Disc, of Witchcraft, p. 179. 


has followed, and which has been judiciously explained by 
Mr. Clark. Shakspeare makes the carrier at Rochester 
observe: "Peas and oats are as dank here as a dog, and 
that's the next way to give poor jades the 6ote."^ 

The larvae of this insect, says Mr. Clark, are mostly 
known among the country people by the name of wormals, 
ivorniuls, warbles, or, more properly, Bots. And om' an- 
cestors erroneously imagined that poverty or improper food 
engendered them in horses. The truth, however, seems 
to be, that when the animal is kept without food the Bots 
are also, and are then, without doubt, most troublesome; 
whence it was very naturally supposed that poverty or bad 
food was the parent of them.^ 

A cow with its hide perforated by Warbles, in England, 
was said to be elf-shot : the holes being made by the arrows 
of the little malignant fairies. In the Northern Antiqui- 
ties, p. 404, we find the following: 

"If at such a time you were to look through an elf-bore 
in wood, where a thorter knot has been taken out, or 
through the hole made by an elf-arrow (which has probably 
been made by a Warble) in the skin of a beast that has 
been elf-shot, you may see the elf-bull naiging (butting) 
with the strongest bull or ox in the herd; but you will 
never see with that eye again." 

In the Scottish history of the trials of witches, we find 
the following: Alexander Smaill offended Jonet Cock, who 
threatened him, " deare sail yow" rewe it ! and within half 
ane howre therafter, going to the plough, — befoir he had 
gone one about, their came ane great Wasp or Bee, so that 
the foir horses did runne aw^ay with the plough, and wer 
liklie to have killed themselves, and the said Alexander 
and the boy that was with him, narrowlie escaped with 
their lyves."^ Possibly the incident is not exaggerated, as 
a single (Estrus will turn the oxen of a whole herd, and 
render them furious. 

Spencer, in his Travels in Circassia, speaks of a poison- 
ous Fly, known in Hungary under the name of the Golu- 
baeser-fly, which is singularly destructive to cattle. The 
Hungarian peasants, to account for the severity of the bite 

1 Henry IV., Pt. I. Act ii. Sc. 1. 

2 Neweirs Zool. of the Poets, p. 29. 

3 Dalyell's Superstitions of Scotland, p. 564. 


of this insect, tell us that in the caverns, near the Castle 
of Golubaes, the renowned champion, St. George, killed 
the dragon, and that its decomposed remains have con- 
tinued to generate these insects down to the present day. 
So firmly did they believe this, that they closed up the 
mouths of the caverns with stone walls.^ 

1 Saturday Mag., xviii. 153. 



Pulicidss — Fleas. 

The name Pulea;, given to the Flea by the Romans, is 
stated by Isodorus to have been derived from pulvis, dust, 
quaai pulveris filius. Our English name Flea, and the 
German Flock, are evidently deduced from the quick mo- 
tions of this insect. 

As to the origin of Fleas, Moufet had a similar notion to 
that contained in the word Pulex, if we adopt the etymol- 
ogy of Isodorus, for he says they are produced from the 
dust, especially when moistened with urine, the smallest 
ones springing from putrid matter. Scaliger relates that 
they are produced from the moistened humors among the 
hairs of dogs.^ Conformable to the curious notion of Mou- 
fet, Shakspeare says : 

2 Car. I think this be the most villainous house in all London 
road for fleas: I am stung like a tench. 

1 Car. Like a tench ? by the mass, there is ne'er a king in Chris- 
tendom could be better bit than I have been since the first cock. 

2 Car. Why, they will allow us ne'er a jorden, and then we leak 
in your chimney; and your chamber-ley breeds fleas like a loach. ^ 

" Martyr, the author of the Decads of Navigation, writes, 
that in Perienna, a countrey of the Indies, the drops of 
sweat that fall from their slaves' bodies will presently turn 
to Fleas. "^ 

Ewlin, in his book of Travels in Turkey, has recorded a 
singular tradition of the history of the Flea and its confra- 
ternity, as preserved among a sect of Kurds, who dwelt in 
his time at the foot of Mount Sindshar. " When Noah's 

1 Hist, of Ins. (Murray, 1838), ii. 313. 

2 Henry IV. Pt. I., Act ii. Sc. 1. 

3 Moufet, Theatr. Ins., p. 276. Topsel's ZTjs^ of Beasts, p. 1102. 

21 (305) 


Ark," says the legend, ''sprung a leak by striking against 
a rock in the vicinity of Mount Sindshar, and Noah de- 
spaired altogether of safety, the serpent promised to help 
him out of his mishap if he would engage to feed him upon 
human flesh after the deluge had subsided. Noah pledged 
himself to do so ; and the serpent coiling himself up, drove 
his body into the fracture and stopped the leak. When the 
pluvious element was appeased, and all were making their 
way out of the ark, the serpent insisted upon the fulfillment 
of the pledge he had received; but Noah, by Gabriel's- ad- 
vice, committed the pledge to the flames, and scattering its 
ashes in the air, there arose out of them Fleas, Flies, Lice, 
Bugs, and all such sort of vermin as prey upon human 
blood, and after this fashion was Noah's pledge redeemed."^ 

The Sandwich Islanders have the following tradition in 
regard to the introduction of Fleas into their country : Many 
years ago a woman from Waimea went out to a ship to see her 
lover, and as she was about to return, he gave her a bottle, 
saying that there was very little valuable property (icaiwai) 
contained in it, but that she must not open it, on any ac- 
count, until she reached the shore. As soon as she gained 
the beach, she eagerly uncorked the bottle to examine her 
treasure, but nothing was to be discovered, — the Fleas 
hopped out, and " they have gone on hopping and biting 
ever since. "'^ 

Our pigmy tormentor, Pulex irritans, in the opinion of 
some, seems to have been regarded as an agreeable rather 
than a repulsive object. "Dear Miss," said a lively old 
lady to a friend of Kirby and Spence (who had the mis- 
fortune to be confined to her bed by a broken limb, and was 
complaining that the Fleas tormentecT her), "don't you like 
Fleas? Well, I think they are the prettiest little merry 
things in the world. — I never saw a dull Flea in all my life."' 
Dr. Townson, as mentioned by the above writers, from the 
encomium which he bestows upon these vigilant little vaulters, 
as supplying the place of an alarum and driving us from the 
bed of sloth, should seem to have regarded them with the 
same happy feelings.^ 

W^hen Ray and Willughby were traveling, they found "at 

177/47. of In.-! (Murray, 1838), ii. 312. 

'^ Jcnkin's Vot/. of the U. S. Explor. Exped., p. 385. 

« Introd., i. 100. *^ Ibid. 


Yenice and Angsburg Fleas for sale, and at a small price 
too, decorated with steel or silver collars around their necks, 
of which Willughby purchased one. When they are kept in 
a box amongst wool or cloth, in a warm place, and fed once 
a day, they will live a long time. When they begin to suck 
they erect themselves almost perpendicularly, thrusting their 
sucker, which originates in the middle of the forehead, into 
the skin. The itching is not felt immediately, but a little 
afterwards. As soon as they are full of blood, they begin 
to void a portion of it, and thus, if permitted, they will con- 
tinue for many hours sucking and voiding. After the first 
itching no uneasiness is subsequently felt. Willughby's 
Flea lived for three months by sucking in this manner the 
blood of his hand; it was at length killed by the cold of 

We read in Purchas's Pilgrims that a city of the Miantines 
is said to have been dispeopled by Fleas ;^ and Messrs. 
Lewis and Clarke, who found 4;hese insects more tormenting 
than all the other plagues of the Missouri country, say they 
sometimes here compel even the natives to shift their quar- 

Dr. Clarke was informed by an Arab Sheikh that "the 
king of the Fleas held his court at Tiberias.'*^ 

To prevent Fleas from breeding, Pliny gives the following 
curious recipe : " Since I have made mention of the cuckow," 
says this writer, "there comes into my mind a strange and mi- 
raculous matter that the said magicians report of this bird; 
namely, that if a man, the first time that he heareth her to 
sing, presently stay his right foot in the very place where it 
was when he heard her, and withal mark out the point and 
just proportion of the said foot upon the ground as it stood, 
and then digg up the earth under it within the said compasse, 
look what chamber or roume of the house is strewed with 
the said mould, there will no Fleas bread there. "^ 

Thomas Hill, in his Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions, 

1 Ray, Hist, of Ins., p. 8. 

2 Pilgr., iii. 997. 

Myas, a principal city of Ionia, was abandoned on account of 
Fleas. — Wanley's Wonders, ii. 507. 

3 K. and S. Introd., i. 100. 
* Travels, vol. ii. 

5 Nat. Hist., XXX. 10. Hell. Trans., p. 387. 


printed 1G50, quotes this passage from Pliny, calling it "A 
very easie and merry conceit to keep off fleas from your beds 
or chambers."^ 

The Hungarian shepherds grease their linen with hogs' 
lard, and thus render themselves so disgusting even to the 
Fleas and Lice, as to put them effectually to flight.^ 

There is still shown in the Arsenal at Stockholm a diminu- 
tive piece of ordnance, four or five inches in length, with 
which, report says, on the authority of Linnceus, the cele- 
brated Queen Christiana used to cannonade Fleas. ^ 

But, seriously, if you wish for an effectual remedy, that 
prescribed by old Tusser, in his Points of Goode Hus- 
bandry, in the following lines, will answer your purpose : 

While wormwood hatli seed, get a handfull or twaine, 
To save against March, to malce flea to refraine : 
Where chamber is sweeped and wormwood is strown, 
No flea for his life dare abide to be known. 

The inhabitants of Dalecarlia place the skins of hares in 
their apartments, in which the Fleas willingly take refuge, 
so that they are easily destroyed by the immersion of the 
skin in scalding water.^ 

Pamphilius among others gives the following remedies 
against Fleas : If a person, he says, sets a dish in the mid- 
dle of the house, and draws a line around it with an iron 
sword (it will be better if the sword has done execution), 
and if he sprinkles the rest of the house, excepting the 
place circumscribed, with an irrigation of staphisagria, or 
of powdered leaves of the bay-tree, they having been boiled 
in brine or in sea-water, he will bring all the Fleas together 
into the dish. A jar also being set in the ground with its 
edge even with the pavement, and smeared with bulls' fat, 
will attract all the Fleas, even those that are in the ward- 
robe. If you enter a place where there are Fleas, express 
the usual exclamation of distress, and they will not touch 
you. Make a small trench under a bed, and pour goats' 
blood into it, and it will bring all the Fleas together, and it 
will allure those from your clothing. Fleas may be removed 

1 Brand's Pop. Antiq., ii. 198. 

2 K. and S. Inlrod., i. 101. 

3 Lack. Lapp., ii. 32, note. 

* Hist, of Ins., iii. 319, Murray, 1888. 


also, concludes this writer, from the most villous and from 
the thickest pieces of tapestry, whither they betake them- 
selves when full, if goats' blood is set in a vessel or in a 

Moufet says: "A Gloeworm, set in the middle of the 
house, drives away Fleas. "•^ 

On the subject of destroying Fleas, the following pleasant 
piece of satire, by Poor Humphrey, will be read witli a 
smile : "A notable projector became notable by one project 
only, which was a certain specific for the killing of fleas, and 
it was in form of a powder, and sold in papers, with plain di- 
rections for use, as followeth: The flea was to be held con- 
veniently between the thumb and finger of the left hand ; 
and to the end of the trunk or proboscis, which protrudeth 
in the flea, somewhat as the elephant's doth, a very small 
quantity of the powder was to be put from between the 
thumb and finger of the right hand. And the deviser un- 
dertook, if any flea to whom his powder was so administered 
should prove to have afterwards bitten a purchaser who 
used it, then that purchaser should have another paper of 
the said powder gratis. And it chanced that the first paper 
thereof was bought idly, as it were, by an old woman, and 
she, without meaning to injure the inventor, or his remedy, 
but, of her mere harmlessness, did innocently ask him, 
whether, when she had caught the flea, and after she had 
got it, as before described, if she should kill it with her 
nail it would not be as well. Whereupon the ingenious in- 
ventor was so astonished by the question, that, not knowing 
what to answer on the sudden occasion, he said with truth 
to this effect, that without doubt her way would do, too. 
And according to the belief of Poor Humphrey, there is 
not as yet any device more certain or better for destroying 
a flea, when thou hast captured him, than the ancient man- 
ner of the old woman's, or instead thereof, the drowning of 
him in fair water, if thou hast it by thee at the time."^ 

The old English hunters report that foxes are full of Fleas, 
and they tell the following queer story how they get rid of 
them : " The fox," say they, as recorded by Moufifet, " gathers 

1 Owen's Geoponika, ii. 155-6. 

2 Thealr. Ins., p. 277. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts, p. 1103. 

3 Hist, of Ins., ii. 318. Murray, 1838. 



some handfuls of wool from thorns and briars, and wrapping 
it up, he holds it fast in his mouth, then goes by degrees 
into a cold river, and dipping himself close by little and 
little, when he finds that all the Fleas are crept so high as 
his head for fear of drowning, and so for shelter crept into 
the wool, he barks and spits out the wool, full of Fleas, and 
so very froliquely being delivered from their molestation, he 
swims to land."^ 

Ramsay thus alludes to this story : 

Then sure tlie lasses, and ilk gaping coof, 

Wad rin about him, and had out their loof. 

M. As fast as fleas skip to the tale of woo, 

Whilk slee Tod Lowrie (the fox) hads without his mow, 

When he to drown them, and his hips to cool, 

In summer days slides backward in a pool.^ 

Preceding this story, Mouffet makes the following observa- 
tions : " The lesser, leaner, and younger they are, the sharper 
they bite, the fat ones being more incliQed to tickle and 
play; and then are not the least plague, especially when in 
greater numbers, since they molest men that are sleeping, and 
trouble wearied and sick persons; from whom they escape by 
skipping ; for as soon as they find they are arraigned to die, and 
feel the finger coming, on a sudden they are gone, and leap 
here and there, and so escape the danger; but so soon as 
day breaks, they forsake the bed. They then creep into the 
rough blankets, or hide themselves in rushes and dust, lying 
in ambush for pigeons, hens, and other birds, also for men 
and dogs, moles and mice, and vex such as passe by."^. 

It is frequently affirmed that asses are never troubled with 
Fleas or other vermin; and, among the superstitious, it is 
said that it is all owing to the riding of Christ upon one of 
these animals.* 

Willsford, in his jS'ature's Secrets, printed 1658, p. 130, 
says : " The little sable beast (called a Flea), if much thirst- 
ing after blood, it argues rain."^ 

It is related that the Devil, teasing St. Domingo in the 
shape of a Flea, skipped upon his book, when the saint 

1 Thcatr. Ins., p. 102. 

2 Ramsay's Poems, ii. 143. 
8 Theatre of Insects, p. 102. 

* Brookes' Kat. Hist, of Ins., p. 284. 

* Brand's Fop. Antiq.,'\n. 204. 


fixed him as a mark where he left off, and continued to use 
him so through the volume.^ 

Fleas infesting beds were attributed to the envy of the 

Giles Fletcher says that Iwan Yasilowich sent to the City 
of Moscow to provide for him a measure full of Fleas for a 
medicine. They answered that it was impossible, and if they 
could get them, yet they could not measure them because of 
their leaping out. Upon which he set a mulct upon the city 
of seven thousand rubles.^ 

We read in Purchas's Pilgrims that the Jews were not 
permitted to burn Fleas in the flame of their lamps on Sab- 
bath evenings.* 

The muscular power of the Flea is so great that it can 
leap to the distance of two hundred times its own length, 
which will appear the more surprising when we consider 
that a man, were he endowed with equal strength and agil- 
ity, would be able to leap between three and four hundred 
yards. Aristophanes, in his usual licentious way, ridicules 
the great Socrates for his pretended experiments on this 
great muscular power : 

Disciple. That were not lawful to reveal to strangers. 

Strejjsiades. Speak boldly then as to a fellow-student; 
For therefore am I come. 

Disc. Then I will speak ; 

But set it down among our mysteries. 
It is a question put to Chsrophon 
By our great master Socrates to answer, 
How many of his own lengths at a spring 
A Flea can hop; for one by chance had skipp'd 
Straight from the brow of Chgerophon to th' head 
, Of Socrates. 

Streps. And how did then the sage 

Contrive to measure this? 

Disc. Most dext'rously. 

He dipp'd the insect's feet in melted wax, 
Which hard'ning into slippers as it cool'd, 
By these computed he the question'd space. 

Streps. O Jupiter, what subtilty of thought ! ^ 

1 Southey's Com. Place Bk., 2d S. p. 406. 

2 Fosbr. Encycl. of Antig., ii. 539. 

3 Southey's Com. Place Bk., 4th S. p. 470. 

4 Pilffr., V. 192. 

5 Aristoph. Clouds, A. i. Sc. 2. 


The witty Butler has also commemorated the same cir- 
cumstance in his justly celebrated poem of Hudibras : 

How many scores a Flea will jump 
Of his own length, from head to rump; 
Which Socrates and Chserophoii 
In vain assay'd so long agon. 

As illustrative of the strenp^th of the Flea, the following 
facts may also be given : We read in a note to Purchas's 
Pilgrims that "one Marke Scaliot, in London, made a lock 
and key and chain of forty-three links, all which a Flea did 
draw, and weighed but a grain and a half."^ Mouflfet, who 
also records this fact, says he had heard of another Flea 
that was harnessed to a golden chariot, which it drew with 
the greatest ease.^ Bingley tells us that Mr. Boverick, an 
ingenious watchmaker in the Strand, exhibited some years 
ago a little ivory chaise with four wheels, and all its proper 
apparatus, and the figure of a man sitting on the box, all of 
which were drawn by a single Flea. The same mechanic 
afterward constructed a minute landau, which opened and 
shut by springs, with the figures of six horses harnessed to 
it, and of a coachman on the box, a dog between his legs, 
four persons inside, two footmen behind it, and a postillion 
riding on one of the fore horses, which were all easily 
dragged along by a single Flea. He likewise had a chain 
of brass, about two inches long, containing two hundred 
links, with a hook at one end and a padlock and key at the 
other, which a Flea drew nimbly along.^ At a fair of 
Charlton, in Kent, 1830, a man exhibited three Fleas har- 
nessed to a carriage in form of an omnibus, at least fifty 
times their own bulk, which they pulled along with great 
ease; another pair drew a chariot, and a single Flea a* 
brass cannon. The exhibitor showed the whole first through 
a magnifying glass, and then to the naked eye ; so that all 

1 Pilg., ii. 840, note. 

2 Im. Thentr., p. 275. 

3 Anim. Biog., iii. 462. 

The hand-bill, published by Mr. Boverick, in the Strand, in the 
year 1745, and anotliev nearly of the same date, ran thus: " To be 
seen at Mr. Boverick's. Watchmaker, at the Dial, facing Old Round 
Court, near the New Exchange, in the Strand, at One Shilling each 
person." Then follows a descriptive list of the articles to be seen, 
among which are mentioned the above. — Kirby's Wonderful Mu- 
seum, i. 101. 


were satisfied there was no deception.^ Latrielle also men- 
tions a Flea of a moderate size, which dragged a silver can- 
non, mounted on wheels, that was twenty-four times its own 
weight, and which being charged with gunpowder was fired 
off without the Flea appearing in the least alarmed.'-' 

It is recorded in Purchas's Pilgrims that an Egyptian 
artisan received a garment of cloth of gold for binding a 
Flea in a chain. ^ 

The Flea is twice mentioned in the Bible, and in both 
cases David, in speaking to Saul, applies it to himself as a 
term of humility.* 

A Prussian poet, quoted by Jaeger,^ gives us the song of 
a young Flea who had emigrated to this country from Prus- 
sia, and thus expresses his dissatisfaction to his sweetheart: 

Kennst de nunmehr das Land, wo Dorngestripp und Distela 

Im frost'gen Wald nur ecl^elhafte Tannenzapfen gliiirn, 
Der Schierling tief, und hoch der Sumach steht, 
Eiu rauher Wind vom schwarzen Himmel weht; 
Kennst du es wohl? lass uns eilig zieh'u, 
Und schnell zuriick in unsre Hiemath flieli'n ! 

An English prose translation of which is : " Know'st 
thou now this country, where only briars and thistles bloom ; 
where ugly fur-nuts only glow in the icy forest ; where down 
in the vale the fetid hemlock grows, and on the hills the 
poisonous sumach ; where heavy winds blow from black 
clouds over desolate lands ? Dost thou not know of this 
country ? Oh, then, let us fly in haste and return lo our 
own fatherland !" 

** To send one away with a Flea in his ear," is a very old 
English phrase, meaning to dismiss one with a rebuke. "^ 
"Flea-luggit" is the Scottish — to be unsettled or confused.'^ 

There is a collection of poems called " La Puce des 
grands jours de Poitiers" — the Flea of the carnival of Poi- 
tiers. The poems were begun by the learned Pasquier, who 

1 Ins. Misc., p. 188. 

2 Nouv. Diet, d'llist. Nat., xxviii. 249. 
8 Pilg., ii. 840. 

4 1 Saml. xxiv. 14 ; xxvi. 20. 

5 Hist, of Ins., p. 310. 

^ Wright's Provincial Diet. 
"^ Jamieson's Scottish Did, 


edited the collection, upon a Flea which was found one morn- 
ing in the bosom of the famous Catherine des Roches.^ 

During the winter of 1762, at Norwich, England, after a 
chilling storm of snow and wind that had destroyed many 
lives, myriads of Fleas were found skipping about on the 

To the Pulicidse belongs also a native of the West Indies 
and South America, the Fulex penetrans, variously named 
in the countries where it is found. Chigoe, Jigger, Nigua, 
Tungua, and Pique. According to Stedman, this " is a 
kind of small sand-flea, which gets in between the skin and 
the flesh without being felt, and generally under the nails of 
the toes, w^here, while it feeds, it keeps growing till it be- 
comes o| the size of a pea, causing no further pain than a 
disagreeable itching. In process of time, its operation ap- 
pears in the form of a small bladder, in which are deposited 
thousands of eggs, or nits, and which, if it breaks, produce 
so many young Chigoes, which, in course of time, create 
running ulcers, often of very dangerous consequence to the 
patient ; so much so, indeed, that I knew a soldier the soles 
of whose feet were obliged to be cut away before he could 
recover; and some men have lost their limbs by amputa- 
tion — nay, even their lives — by having neglected in time to 
root out these abominable vermin. The moment, therefore, 
that a redness and itching more than usual are perceived, it 
is time to extract the Chigoe that occasions them. This is 
done with a sharp-pointed needle, taking care not to occa- 
sion unnecessary pain, and to prevent the Chigoe from break- 
ing in the wound. Tobacco ashes are put into the orifice, 
by which in a little time the sore is perfectly healed."^ The 
female slaves are generally employed to extract these pests, 
which they do with uncommon dexterity. Old Ligon tells 
us he had ten Chigoes taken out of his feet in a morning " by 
the most unfortunate Yarico,"^ whose tragical story is now 
so celebrated in prose and verse. Mr. Soutliey says that 
many of the first settlers of Brazil, before they knew the 
remedy to extract the Chigoes, lost their feet in the most 
dreadful manner.^ 

1 D'Israeli, Curios, of Lit., i. 339. 

2 Gent. 3Iaff., xxxii. 208, 

3 Stedman's Siiri/iam, 
* IJist. of Barbados, p. G5. 
6 Hist, of Brazil, i. 326. 


Walton, in his Present State of the Spanish Colonies, 
tells us of a Capuchin friar, who carried away with hira a 
colony of Chigoes in his foot as a present to the Scientific 
Colleges in Europe ; but, unfortunately for himself and for 
science, the length of the voyage produced mortification in 
his leg, that it became necessary to cut it off to save the 
zealous missionary's life, and the leg, with all its inhabit- 
ants, were tumbled together into the sea.^ 

Humboldt observes '' that the whites born in the torrid 
zone walk barefoot with impunity in the same apartment 
where a European, recently landed, is exposed to the attack 
of this animal. The Nigua, therefore, distinguishes what 
the most delicate chemical analysis could not distinguish, 
the cellular membrane and blood of an European from those 
of a Creole white. "^ 

1 Vol. i. p. 128. 

2 Fers. Narrative, E. T, v. 101. 



Pediculidse— Lice. 

At Hurdenburg, in Sweden, Mr. Hurst tells us the mode 
of choosing a burgomaster is this: The persons eligible sit 
around, with their beards upon a table ; a Louse is then put 
in the middle of the table, and the one, in whose beard this 
insect first takes cover, is the magistrate for the ensuing 

Respecting the revenue of Montecusuma, which consisted 
of the natural products of the country, and what was pro- 
duced by the industry of his subjects, we find the following 
story in Torquemada: "During the abode of Montecusuma 
among the Spaniards, in the palace of his father, Alonzo de 
Ojeda one day espied in a certain apartment of the building 
a number of small bags tied up. He imagined at first that 
they were filled with gold dust, but on opening one of them, 
what was his astonishment to find it quite full of Lice? 
Ojeda, greatly surprised at the discovery he had made, im- 
mediately communicated what he had seen to Cortes, who 
then asked Marina and Anguilar for some explanation. 
Tiiey informed him that the Mexicans had such a sense of 
their duty to pay tribute to their monarch, that the poorest 
and meanest of the inhabitants, if they possessed nothing 
better to present to their king, daily cleaned their persons, 
and saved all the Lice they caught, and that when they had 
a good store of these, they laid them in bags at the feet of 
their monarch." Torquemada further remarks, that his 
reader might think these bags were filled with small worms 
(gasanillos), and not with Lice ; but appeals to Alonzo de 

1 Bayle, iii. 484. Southey's Com. Place Bk., 4th S. p. 439. 


Ojeda, and another of Cortes' soldiers, named Alonzo de 
Mata, who were eye-witnesses of the fact.^ 

Oviedo pretends to have observed that Lice, at the eleva- 
tion of the tropics, abandon the Spanish sailors that are 
going to the Indies, and attack them again at the same point 
on their return. The same is reported in Purchas's Pil- 
grims.2 One of the supplementary writers to Cuvier's His- 
tory of Insects says: "This is an observation that has need 
of being corroborated by more certain testimonies than we 
are yet in possession of. But, if true, there would be nothing 
in the fact very surprising. A degree of considerable heat, 
and a more abundant perspiration, might prove unfavorable 
to the propagation of the Pediculi corporis. As their 
skin is more tender, the influence of the air might prove 
detrimental to them in those burning climates."^ 

We read in Purchas's Pilgrims, that "if Lice doe much 
annoy the natives of Cambaia and Malabar, they call to 
them certain Religious and holy men, after their account : 
and these Observants y will take upon them all those Lice 
which the other can find, and put them on their head, there 
to nourish them. But yet for all this lousie scruple, they 
stick not to coozeuage by falese weights, measures, and coyne, 
nor at usury and lies."^ 

In a side-note to this curious passage, we find : "The like 
lousie trick is reported in the Legend of S. Fraiicis, and in 
the life of Ignatius, of one of the Jesuitical pillars, by 

Steedman says of the Caffres, that "except an occasional 
plunge in a river, they never wash themselves, and conse- 
quently their bodies are covered with vermin. On a fine day 
their karosses are spread out in the sun, and as their torment- 
ors creep forth they are doomed to destruction. It often hap- 
pens that one Cafifir performs for another the kind office of 
collecting these insects, in which case he preserves the ento- 
mological specimens, carefully delivering them to the person 

1 Bernal Diaz' Conquest of Mexico, i. 394, note 54. This story, no 
doubj^, is founded on something like truth, and most probably these 
bags were filled with ihe. Coccus cacti, the Cochineal insect, then un- 
known to the Spaniards, who might have easily mistaken them in 
a dried state for Lice. 

2 Filg., iii. 975. 

3 Cuv. An. King. — Ins., i. 163. 
* Pilg., V. 542. 



to wliom they originally appertained, supposing, according to 
their theory, that as they derived their support from the blood 
of the man from whom they were taken, should they be killed 
by another, the blood of his neighbor would be in his pos- 
session, thus placing in his hands the power of some super- 
human influence."^ 

Kolben says the Hottentots eat the largest of the Lice 
with which they swarm ; and that if asked how they can 
devour such detestable vermin, they plead the law of retali- 
ation, and urge that it is no shame to eat those who would 
eat them — '' They suck our blood, and we devour 'em in 

We are assured in Purchas's Pilgrims, that Lice and 
''long wormes" were sold for food in Mexico.^ From this 
ancient collection of Travels, we learn that when the Indians 
of the Province of Cuena are infected with Lice, "they 
dresse and cleanse one another ; and they that exercise this, 
are for the most part women, who eate all that they take, 
and have herein (eating?) such dexterity by reason of their 
exercise, that our own men cannot lightly attaine there- 

The Budini, a people of Scythia, commonly feed upon 
Lice and other vermin bred upon their bodies.^ 

Mr. AVafer, in his description of the Isthmus of America, 
says: "The natives have Lice in their Heads, which they 
feel out with their Fingers, and eat as they catch them."® 
Dobrizhoffer also mentions that Lice are eaten by the Indian 
women of South America.^ 

. The disgusting practice of eating these vermin is not con- 
fined to the Hottentots, the Negroes of Western Africa, the 
Simiae, and the American Indians, for it has been observed 
to prevail among the beggars of Spain and Portugal.^ 

Schroder, in his History of Animals that are useful in 
Physic, says : " Lice are swallowed by country people 

1 Wand, and Adv. in S. Africa, i. 266. 

2 Kolb. Trav., ii. 179. Astley's Col. of Vorj. and Trav., iii. 3^2. 

3 Fi/g., iii. 1133. 

4 Ibid., iii. 975. 

5 Wanley's Wonders, ii. 373. 

6 Dampier's Voj/., iii. 331. Loud. 1729. 

7 Dobi-iz., ii. 396. Southey's Co7n. Place Bk., 2d S. p. 527. 

8 Cuvier, An. Kingd. — Ins., i. 163. 


acrainst the jaundice."^ As a specific against this disease, 
Beaumont and Fletcher thus allude to them : 

Die of the jaundice, yet have the cure about you; lice, large lice, 
begot of your own dust and the heat of the brick kilns. '^ 

Lice were also made use of in cases of Atrophy, and 
Dioscorides says they were employed in suppressions of 
urine, being introduced into the canal of the urethra.^ 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1Y46, there is a curious 
letter on "a certain creature, of rare and extraordinary 
qualities" — a Louse, containing many humorous observa- 
tions on \k\\% ^' lover of the human race," and concluding 
with some queries as to its origin and pedigree. "Was it," 
the writer asks, "created within the six days assigned by 
Moaes for the formation of all things ? If so, where was 
its habitation ? We can hardly suppose that it was quar- 
tered on Adam or his lady, the neatest, nicest pair (if we 
believe John Milton) that ever joyned hands. And yet, as 
it disdained to graze the fields, or lick the dust for suste- 
nance, where else could it have had its subsistence ?"* 

In a modern account of Scotland, written by an English 
gentleman, and printed in the year 1670, we find the follow- 
ing : "In that interval between Adam and Moses, when the 
Scottish Chronicle commences, the country was then bap- 
tized (and most think with the sign of the cross) by the 
venerable name of Scotland, from Scota, the daughter of 
Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Hence came the rise and name 
of these present inhabitants, as their Chronicle informs us, 
and is not to be doubted of, from divers considerable cir- 
cumstances; the plagues of Egypt being entailed upon 
them, that of Lice (being a judgment unrepealed) is an 
ample testimony, these loving animals accompanied them 
from Egypt, and remain with them to this day, never forsaking 
them (but as rats leave a house) till they tumble into their 

Linnaeus, seemingly very anxious to become an apologist 
for the Lice, gravely observes that they probably preserve 

1 Southey's Com. Place BL, 4th S. p. 439. 

2 Thierry and Theod., A. v. So. 1. 

3 James's Med. Diet. 

* Gent. Mag., xvi. 534. 

s Harleian MisceL, vii. 435. 


children who are troubled with them, from a variety of com- 
plaints to which they would be liable !^ 

As an attempt toward discovering the intention of Provi- 
dence in permitting the frequency of these tormenting ani- 
mals, the following lines of Serenus may be given : 

See nature, kindly provident ordain 
Her gentle stimulants to harmless pain ; 
Lest Man, the slave of rest, should waste away 
In torpid slumlaer life's important day ! 

Of the horrible disease, Phthiriasis, occasioned by myriads 
of Lice, PedicuU, and sometimes by Mites, Acari, and Larvse 
in general, I shall but mention that the inhuman Pheretrina, 
Antiochus Epiphanes, the Dictator Sylla, the two Herods, 
the Emperor Maximin, and Philip the Second were among 
the number carried off by it. 

Quintus Serenus speaks thus of the death of Sylla : 

Great Sylla too the fatal scourge hath known; 
Slain by a host far mightier than his own. 

According to Pliny, Nits are destroyed by using dog's 
fat, eating serpents cooked like eels, or else taking their 
sloughs in drink. ^ 

In Leyden's Notes to Complayntof Scotland are recorded 
the following few rhymes of the Gyre-carlin — the bug-bear 
of King James Y. 

The Mouse, the Louse, and Little Rede, 
Were a' to mak' a gruel in a lead. 

The two first associates desire Little Rede to go to the 
door, to "see what he could see." He declares that he saw 
the gyre-carlin coming, 

With spade, and shool, and trowel, 
To lick up a' the gruel. 

Upon which the party disperse : 

The Louse to the claith, 

And the Mouse to the wa', 
Little Rede behind the door, 

And licket up a'.^ 

1 Shaw, Zool, vi.454. 

2 Nat. Hist., xxix. (75). 

3 Chambers' Fop. Rhymes of Scot!., p. 282-3. Edit, of 1841, p. 243. 



Acaridae — Mites. 

The white spot on the back of a certain species of Wood- 
tic (Acarus) is said to be the spot where the pin went 
through the body when Noah pinned it in the Ark to keep 
it from troubling him. 

Phalangidse— Daddy-Long-legs. 

A superstition obtains among our cow-boys that if a cow 
be lost, its whereabouts may be learned by inquiring of the 
Daddy-Long-legs (Phalangium), which points out the di- 
rection of the lost animal with one of its fore legs. 

In England, the Phalangium has been christened the liar- 
vest- man, from a superstitious belief that if it be killed there 
will be a bad harvest.^ 

Pedipalpi — Scorpions. 

Concerning the generation of the Scorpion, Topsel, in 
his History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, printed in 
1658, treats as follows: 

"Now, then, it followeth that we inquire about the man- 
ner of their (Scorpions') breed or generation, which I find 
to be double, as divers authors have observed, one way is 

1 Properly the second Class of the sub-kingdom Articulata. 

2 Chambers' Book of Days, i. 687. 

28* ( 321 ) 


by putrefaction, and the other by laying of egges, and both 
these ways are consonant to nature, for Lacinius writeth 
that some creatures are generated only by propagation of 
seed — such are men, vipers, whales, and the palm-tree; 
some again only by putrefaction, as mice. Scorpions, Emmets, 
Spiders, purslain, which, first of all, were produced by pu- 
trefaction, and since their generation are conserved by the 
seed and egges of their own kinde. Now, therefore, we 
will first of all speak of the generation of Scorpions by pu- 
trefaction, and afterward by propagation. 

"Pliny saith^ that when Seacrabs dye, and their bodies 
are dried upon the earth, when the sun entereth into Can- 
cer and Scorpius, out of the putrefaction thereof ariseth a 
Scorpion ; and so out of the putrefied body of the crefish 
burned arise Scorpions, which caused Ovid thus to write: 

Concava littoreo si demas brachia cancro, 
Caeiera supponas terne, de parte sepulia 
Scorpius exibit, caudaque minabitur unca. 

And again : 

Obrutus exemptis cancer tellure lacertis, 
Scorpius exiguo tempore factus erit. 

In English thus : ■ 

If that the arms you take from Sea-crab-fish, 
And put the rest in earth till all consumed be, 
Out of the buried part a Scorpion will arise, 
"With hooked tayl doth threaten for to hurt thee. 

"And therefore it is reported by ^lianus that about Es- 
tamenus, in India, there are abundance of Scorpions gene- 
rated only by corrupt rain-water standing in that place. 
Also out of the Basalisk beaten into pieces and so putre- 
fied are Scorpions engendered. And when as one had 
planted the herb basilica on a wall, in the room or place 
thereof he found two Scorpions. And some say that if a man 
chaw in his mouth fasting this herb basill before he wash, and 
afterward lay the same abroad uncovered where no sun 
Cometh at it for the space of seven nights, taking it in all 
the daytime, he shall at length finde it transmuted into a 
Scorpion, with a tayl of seven knots. ^ 

1 Nat. Hist., XX. 12. 

2Cf. Pliny, X. 12: and Moufet's Theatr. Ins., p. 205, 


" Hollerius,^ to take away all scruple of this thing, writeth 
that in Italy in his dayes there was a man that had a Scor- 
pion bred in his brain by continuall smelling to this herb 
basill ; and Gesner, by relation of an apothecary in France, 
writeth likewise a story of a young maid who, by smelling 
to basill, fell into an exceeding headache, whereof she died 
without cure, and after death, being opened, there were 
found little Scorpions in her brain. 

"Aristotle remembreth an herb which he calleth sissira- 
bria, out of which putrefied Scorpions are engendered, as 
he writeth. And we have shewed already, in the history of 
the Crocodile, that out of the Crocodile's egges do many 
times come Scorpions, which at their first egression do kill 
their dam that hatched them, which caused Archelaus, which 
wrote epigrams of wonders unto Ptolemaeus, to sing of Scor- 
pions in this manner : 

In vos dissolvit morte, et redigit crocodilum 
Natura extiuctum, Scorpii omnipotens. 

Which may be Englished thus : 

To you by Scorpions death the omnipotent 
Ruines the crocodil in nature's life extinct." 2 

The remarks referred to by Topsel in the last paragraph 
in his history of the Crocodile are as follows : 

" It is said by Philes that, after the egge is laid by the 
crocodile, many times there is a cruel Stinging Scorpion 
which cometh out thereof, and woundeth the crocodile that 
laid it.^ 

" The Scorpion also and the crocodile are enemies one to 

1 B. i. ch. 1. 

^ Hist, of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, p. 753. — Scorpions are 
bred "from the carkass of the crocodile, as Antigonus affirms, lib. 
de mirab. hist. cong. 24. For in Archelaus there is an epigram of a 
certain Egyptian in these words: 

In vos dissolvit morte, et redigit crocodilum, 
Natura extinctum (Scorpioli) omniparens. 

In English : 

The carkass of dead crocodiles is made the feed, 
By common nature, whence Scorpions breed." 

Moufet's Theatr. Ins., p. 208. Topsel's Trans., p. 1052. 
3 Qua supra, p. (385. 


the other, and therefore when the Egyptians will describe 
the combat of two notable enemies, they paint a crocodile 
and a Scorpion Bghting together, for ever one of them kill- 
eth another; but if they will decipher a speedy overthrow 
to one's enemy, then they picture a crocodile; if a slow and 
slack victory, they picture a Scorpion."^ 

"Some maintain," says Moufet, "that they (Scorpions) 
are not bred by copulation, but by exceediog heat of the 
sun. JElian, lib. 6, de Anim, cap. 22, among whom Galen 
must first be blamed, who in his Book de feet. form, will 
not have nature, but chance to be the parent of Scorpions, 
Flies, Spiders, Worms of all sorts, and he ascribes their be- 
ginning to the uncertain constitutions of the heavens, place, 
matter, heat, etc."^ 

Topsel further says : " The principall of all other sub- 
jects of their (the Scorpions') hatred are virgins and women, 
whom they do not only desire to harm, but also when they 
have harmed are never perfectly recovered. (Albertus) . . . 

" The lion is by the Scorpion put to flight wheresoever he 
seeith it, for he feareth it as the enemy of his life, and there- 
fore writeth S. Ambrose, Exiguo Scorpionis aculeo exagi- 
tatur leo, the lion is much moved at the small sting of a 

Naude tells us that there is a species of Scorpions in 
Italy, which are so domesticated as to be put between sheets 
to cool the beds during the heat of summer.* Pliny men- 
tions that the Scorpions of Italy are harmless.^ 

Among the curious things recorded by Pliny concerning 
the Scorpion, the following have been selected : Some 
writers, he says, are of opinion that the Scorpion devours 
its offspring, and that the one among the young which is the 
most adroit avails itself of its sole mode of escape by placing 
itself on the back of the mother, and thus finding a place 
where it is in safety from the tail and the sting. The one 
that thus escapes, they say, becomes the avenger of the rest, 

1 -Qua supra, p. 689. 

2 Ibid., p. 207. Topsel's Trans., p. 1051. 

3 Ibid., p. 754. 

* Andrew's Anecdotes, p. 427. 

^ Nat. Hist., xi. 25. Pliny here probably alludes to the Panorpis, 
or Scorpion- fly, the abdomen of which terminates in a foi'ccps, 
which redembles the tail of the Scorpion. 


and at last, taking; advantage of its elevated position, puts 
its parent to death. ^ 

According to Pliny, those who carry the plant " tricoc- 
cum," or, as it is also called, "scorpiuron,"^ about their 
person are never stung by a Scorpion, and it is said, he con- 
tinues, that if a circle is traced on the ground around a 
Scorpion with a sprig of this plant, the animal will never 
move out of it, and that if a Scorpion is covered with it, or 
even sprinkled with the water in which it has been steeped, 
it will die that instant.^ 

Attains assures us, says Pliny, that if a person, the mo- 
ment he sees a Scorpion, says "Duo,"* the reptile will stop 
short and forbear to sting.^ 

Concerning Scorpions, Diophanes, contemporary with 
Ciesar and Cicero, has collected the following several 
opinions of the more ancient writers : If you take a Scor- 
pion, he says, and burn it, the others will betake themselves 
to flight : and if a person carefully rubs his hands with the 
juice of radish, he may without fear and danger take hold 
of Scorpions, and of other reptiles: and radishes laid on 
Scorpions instantly destroy them. You will also cure the 
bite of a Scorpion, by applying a silver ring to the place. 
A sufifumigation of sandarach*^ with galbanura, or goat's fat, 
will drive away Scorpions and every other reptile. If a per- 
son will also l3oiI a Scorpion in oil, and will rub the place 
bit by a Scorpion, he will stop the pain.^ Bat Apuleius 
says, that if a person bit by a Scorpion sits on an ass, turned 
toward its tail, that the ass suffers the pain, and that it is 
destroyed.^ Democritus says that a person bit by a Scor- 
pion, who instantly says to his ass, "A Scorpion has bit 
me," will suffer no pain, but it passes to the ass.^ The newt 

1 Nat. Hist., xi. 25. 

2 "Scorpion's tail." Dioscorides gives this name to the Ileliosco- 
pium, or great Heliotropium. 

3 Nat. Hist., xxii. 29. 

4 ''Two." 

5 Nat. Hist., xxviii. 5. 

6 The red arsenic of the Greeks was called by this name. — Mat- 
thiol, vi. 81. 

"f This prescription is given at the present day in Italy and the 

^ Zoroaster also mentions this. Vide Owen's Geoponika, ii. 194. 

9 Pliny relates the same story, Nat. Hist., xxviii. 10 (42) ; also 
Zoroaster, qua supra. 


has an antipathy to the Scorpion: if a person, therefore, 
melts a newt in oil, and applies the oil to the person that is 
bitten, he frees him from pain. The same author also says 
that the root of a rose-tree being applied, cures persons bit 
by Scorpions. Plutarch recommends to fasten small nuts to 
the feet of the bed, that Scorpions may not approach it. 
Zoroaster says that lettuce-seed, being drunk with wine, 
cures persons bit by Scorpions. Florentinus says, if one 
applies the juice of the fig to the wound of a person just 
bitten, that the poison will proceed no farther; or, if the 
person bit eat squill, he will not be hurt, but he will say 
that the squill is pleasant to his palate. Tarentinus also 
says that a person holding the herb sideritis may take 
hold of Scorpions, and not be hurt by them.^ Dioscorides, 
among many other remedies for the sting of the Scorpion, 
prescribes "a fish called Lacerta, salted and cut in pieces; 
the barbel fish cut in two ; the flesh of a fish called Smaris; 
house-mice cut asunder; horse or ass dung; the shell of an 
Indian small nut ; ram's flesh burnt ; mummie, four grains, 
with butter and cow's milk; a broiled Scorpion eaten ; river- 
crabs raw and bruised, and drank with asses' milk : locusts 
broiled and eaten," etc. Rabby Moyses prescribes pigeon's 
dung dried ; Constantinus, hens' dung, or the heart applied 
outwardly; Anatolius, crows' dung; Averrhois, the bezoar- 
stoue; Monus, silver; Silvaticus, from Serapis, pewter; and 
Orpheus, coral. 

"Quintus Serenus writes thus, and a.dviseth: 

These are small things, but yet their wounds are great, 

And in pure bodies lurking do most harm. 

For when our senses inward do retreat, 

And men are fast asleep, they need some charm, 

The Spider and the cruel Scorpion 

Are wont to sting, witnesse great Orion, 

Slayn by a Scorpion, for poysons small 

Have mighty force, and therefore presently 

Lay on a Scorpion bruised, to recall 

The veuome, or sea-water to apply 

Is held full good, such virtue is in brine, 

And 'tis approved to drink your till of wine. 

"And Macer writes of houseleek thus : 

Owen's Geoponika, ii 14G-8. 


Men say that houseleek hath so soveraign a might-, 
AVho carries but that, no Scorpion can him bite." ^ 

The natives of South Africa, when bitten by a Scorpion, 
apply, as a remedy, a living frog to the wound, into which 
animal it is supposed the poison is tranferred from the 
wound, and it dies; then they apply another, which dies 
also : the third perhaps only becomes sickly, and the fourth 
no way affected. When this is observed, the poison is con-, 
sidered to be extracted, and the patient cured. Another 
method is to apply a kidney, scarlet, or other bean, which 
swells; then apply another and another, till the bean ceases 
to be affected, when they consider the poison extracted.^ 

There is a vast desert tract, says Pliny, on this side of the 
Ethiopian Cynaraolgi — the ** dog-milkers" — the inhabitants 
of which were exterminated by Scorpions and venomous 

Navarette tells us, in the account of his voyage to the 
Philippine Islands, that there was there in practice a good 
and easy remedy against the Scorpions which abound in that 
country. This was, when thejwent to bed, to make a com- 
memoration of St. George. He himself, he says, for many 
years continued this devotion, and, "God be praised," he 
adds, "the Saint always delivered me both there and in 
other countries from those and such like insects." He con- 
fesses, however, they used another remedy besides, which was 
to rub all about the beds with garlic* 

Navarette^ and Barbof' both tell us that a certain remedy 
against the sting of a Scorpion, is to rub the wound with a 
child's private member. This, the latter adds, immediately 
takes away the pain, and then the venom exhales. The 
moisture that comes from a hen's mouth, Barbot says, is 
also good for the same. 

The Persians believe that Scorpions may be deprived of 
the power of stinging, by means of a certain prayer which 
they make use of for that purpose. The person who has the 
power of "binding the Scorpion," as it is called, turns his 

1 Moufet's Theatr. Ins., 210-215. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts and Ser- 
pents, p. 1053-7. 

2 Campbell's Travels in S. Africa, p. 325. 

3 Nat. Hist., Yiii. 29 (43). 
* Churchill's Col. of Voy. and Trav., 1. 212. 
6 Ibid. « Ibid., V. 221. 


face toward the sign Scorpio, in the heavens, and repeats 
this prayer; while every person present, at the conclusion of 
a sentence, claps his hands. After this is done they think 
that they are perfectly safe ; nor, if they should chance to 
see any Scorpions during that night, do they scruple to take 
hold of them, trusting to the efficacy of this fancied all- 
powerful charm. "I have frequently seen," says Francklin, 
"the man in whose family I lived, repeat the above-mentioned 
prayer, on being desired by his children to bind the Scor- 
pions; after which the whole family has gone quietly and 
contentedly to bed, fully persuaded that they could receive 
no hurt by them."^ 

Bell says the Persians "have such a dread of these creat- 
ures, that, when provoked by any person, they wish a Kashan 
Scorpion may sting him.'" 

An old story is, that a Scorpion surrounded with live 
coals, finding no method of escaping, grows desperate from 
its situation, and stings itself to death. This, though con- 
sidered a mere fable of antiquity, may still have some truth, 
if we believe the following from the pen of Ulloa : "We 
more than once," says this traveler, "entertained ourselves 
with an experiment of putting a Scorpion into a glass ves- 
sel, and injecting a little smoke of tobacco, and immediately 
by stopping it found that its aversion to this smell is such, 
that it falls into the most furious agitations, till, giving itself 
several stings on the head, it finds relief by destroying 
itself."^ There is also told a story in the East Indies, that 
"the Scorpion is sometimes so pestered with the pismires, 
that he stings himself to death in the head with his tail, and 
so becomes a prey to the pismires."* 

The Scorpion was an emblem of the Egyptian goddess 
Selk ; and she is usually found represented with this animal 
bound upon her head.^ 

^lian mentions Scorpions of Coptos, which, though in- 
flicting a deadly sting, and dreaded by the people, so far re- 
spected the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was particularly 
worshiped in that city, that women, in going to express 

1 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ix. 261. 

2 Ihid., vii. 298. 

3 Ihid., xiv. 348. 

* ChurcbiU's Coll. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 316. 
^ Wilkinson's Anct. Egypt., v. 52, 254. 


their grief before her, walked with bare feet, or lay upon 
the ground, without receiving any injury from them.^ 

The Ethiopians that dwell near the River Hydaspis com- 
monly eat Scorpions and serpents without the slightest harm, 
"which certainly proceeds from no other thing than a secret 
and wonderful constitution of the body !" says Mercurlalis.'^ 

Lutfullah, the learned Mohammedan gentleman, in his 
Autobiography, relates the following : 

"On the morning of the 11th (April, 1839), I ordered my 
servant boy to shake my bedding and put it in the sun for 
an hour or so, that the moisture imbibed by the quilt might 
be dried. As soon as the quilt was removed from its place, 
what did I behold but an immense Scorpion, tapering to- 
wards its tail of nine vertebra3, armed with a sting at the 
end, crawling with impunity at the edge of the carpet. I 
had never seen such a large monster before. It was black 
in the body, with small bristles all over, dark green in the 
tail, and red at the sting. This hideous sight rendered me 
and the servant horror-struck. In the mean time, an Afghan 
friend of mine, by name Ata Moharaed Khan Kakar, a re- 
spectable resident of the town, honoured me with a visit, 
and, seeing the reptile, observed, ' Lutfullah, you are a lucky 
man, having made a narrow escape this morning. This cursed 
worm is called Jerrara, and its fatal sting puts a period to 
animal life in a moment ; return, therefore, your thanks to 
the Lord, all merciful, who gave you a new life in having 
saved you from the mortal sting of this evil bed-companion 
of yours.' 'I have no fear of the worm,' replied I, 'for it 
dare not sting me unless it is written in the book of fate to 
be stung by it.' Saying this, I made the animal crawl into 
a small earthen vessel, and stopped the mouth of it with 
clay ; and then making a large fire, I put the vessel therein 
for an hour or so, to turn the reptile into ashes, which, ad- 
ministered in doses of half a grain to adults, are a specific 
remedy for violent colicky pains. "^ 

The ashes of burnt Scorpions, besides being good for 
colicky pains, as Lutfullah says, were often prescribed by 
the ancient physicians for stone in the bladder ;* and Topsel, 

i ^Elian, xvi. 41, and xii. 38. Wilkinson's And. Egypt., v. 254. 

2 Wanley's Wonders, ii. 459. 

^Autobwff., Lond. 1858, p. 304-5. 

•* Prescribed by Galen, Pliny, Lanfrankus, etc. 


quoting Kiranides, has the following: "If a raan take a 
vulgar Scorpion and drown the same in a porringer of oyl 
in the wane of the moon, and therewithal! afterward anoynt 
the back from the shoulders to the hips, and also the head 
and forehead, with the tips of the fingers and toes of one 
that is a demoniack or a lunatick person, it is reported, that 
he shall ease and cure him in short time. And the like is 
reported of the Scorpion's sting joyned with the top of basil 
wherein is seed, and with the heart of a swallow, all in- 
cluded in a piece of harts skin."^ The oil of Scorpions, 
Brassavolus says, "drives out worms miraculously;" and 
oil of Scorpions' and vipers' "tongues is a most excellent 
remedy against the plague, as Crinitus testifies, i. 7."^ 
Galen prescribes Scorpions for jaundice, and Kiranides the 
same for the several kinds of ague. " Plinius Secundus saith, 
that a quartan ague, as the magicians report, will be cured 
in three daies by a Scorpion's Tour last joynts of his tail, to- 
gether with the gristle of his ear, so wrapped up in a black 
cloth, that the sick patient may neither perceive the Scor- 
pion that is applied, nor him that bound it on ... . Sa- 
monicus commends Scorpions against pains in the eyes, in 
these verses : 

If I bat some grievous pain perplex thy sight, 

Wool wet in o}'! is good bound on all night. 

Carry about tliee a live Scorpion's eye, 

Ashes of coleworts if thou do apply, 

With bruised fankincense, goat's milk, and wine, 

One night will prove this remedy divine. "^ 

The following Asiatic fable of the Scorpion and the Tor- 
toise is from the Beharistan of Jamy: A Scorpion, armed 
with pernicious sting and filthy poison, undertook a journey. 
Coming to the bank of a wide river, he stopped in great 
perplexity, wanting height of leg to cross over, yet very un- 
willing to return. A Tortoise, seeing his situation, and 
moved with compassion, took him on his back, sprang into 
the river, and was swimming toward the opposite shore, 
when he heard a noise on his shell as of something striking 
him ; he called out to know what it was ; the ungrateful 
Scorpion answered, " It is the motion of my sting only, I 

1 Hist, of Beasts and Serpents, p. 757. 

2 So also Manardus.— Moufet, p. 210. Topsel's Trans., p. 1053. 


know it cannot affect you, but it is a habit which I cannot 
relinquish." " Indeed," replied the Tortoise, " then I cannot 
do better than free so evil-minded a creature from his bad 
disposition, and secure the good from his malevolence." 
Saying which he dived under the water, and the waves soon 
carried the Scorpion beyond the bourn of existence. 

When, in this banquet house of vice and strife, 
A knave oft strikes the various stings of fraud, 
'Tis best the sea of death ingulf him soon, 
That he be freed from man, and man from him.^ 

Topsel, in his History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, 
has the following in his chapter on the Scorpion : 

" There is a common adage. Comix Scorpium, a Haven 
to a Scorpion, and it is used against them that perish by 
their own inventions: when they set upon others, they meet 
with their matches, as a raven did when it preyed upon a 
Scorpion, thus described by Alciatus, under his title Justa 
ultio, just revenge, saying as followeth : 

Raptabat volucer captum pede corvus in auras 

Scorpion, audaci prgemia part a gulae. 
Ast ille infuso sensim per membra venemo, 

Raptorem in stygias compulit ultor aquas. 
risu res digna ! aliis qui fata parabat, 

Ipse periit, propriis succubuitque dolis. 

Which may be Englished thus : 

The ravening crow for prey a Scorpion took 
Within her foot, and therewithal aloft did flie. 

But he empoysoned her by force and stinging stroke, 
So ravener in the Stygian Lake did die. 

sportfuU game ! that he which other for bellyes sake did kill, 

By his own deceit should fall into death's will. 

"There be some learned writers, who have compared a 
Scorpion to an epigram, or rather an epigram to a Scor- 
pion, because as the sting of the Scorpion lyeth in the 
tayl, so the force and vertue of an epigram is in the conclu- 
sion, for vel acriter salse nior^deal, vel jucunde atque did' 
citer delectet, that is, either let it bite sharply at the end, 
or else delight pleasingly."^ 

1 Asiatic Miscellany, ii. 451, 

2 Topsel's lli&t. of Beasts and Serpents, p. 755-6. 


Araneidae — True Spiders. 

A little head and body small, 
AVitli slendei' feet and very tall, 
Belly gi'cat, and from thence come all 
The webs it spins. — Moufet.i 

"Domitian sometime," says Hollingshed incidentally in 
his Chronicles of England, " and an other prince yet living, 
delited so much to see the iollie combats betwixt a stout 

Flie and an old Spider Some parasites also in the 

time of the aforesaid emperour (when they were disposed 
to laugh at his follie, and yet would seem in appearance to 
gratifie his fantasticall head with some shew of dutiful de- 
menour) could devise to set tiieir lorde on worke, by letting 
a fresh flie privilie into his chamber, which he foorthwith 
would egerlie have hunted (all other businesse set apart) 
and never ceased till he had caught him in his fingers: 
whereupon arose the proverbe ' ne musca quidem,' altered 
first by Yitius Priscus, who being asked whether anie bodie 
was with Domitian, answered ' ne musca quidem,' whereby 
he noted his follie. There are some cockes combs here 
and there in England, learning it abroad as men transre- 
gionate, which make account also of this pastime, as of a 
notable matter, telling what a fight is seene betweene them, 
if either of them be lustie and couragious in his kind. One 
also hath mad a booke of the Spider and the Flie, wherein 
he dealeth so profoundlie, and beyond all measure of skill, 
that neither he himself that made it, neither anie one that 
readeth it can reach unto the meaning thereof"^ 

Chapelain, the author of Pucelle, was called by the acade- 
micians the Knight of the Order of the Spider, because he 
was so avaricious, that though he had an income of 13,000 
livres, and more than 240,000 in ready money, he wore an old 
coat so patched, pieced, and threadbare, that the stitches ex- 
hibited no bad resemblance to the fibers produced by that 
insect. Being one day present at a large party given by 
the great Conde, a Spider of uncommon size fell from the 
ceiling upon the floor. The company thought it could not 

iTopsel's Trans. — Hist, of Beasts and Serpents, p. 1058. 
2 Chronicles, i. 385. 


have come from the roof, and all the ladies at once agreed 
that it must have proceeded from Chapelain's wig ; — the 
wig so celebrated bj the well-known part)dy.^ 

The often-told anecdote of the Scottish monarch, Robert 
Bruce, and the cottage Spider, is thus related in Chambers' 
Miscellany : While wandering on the wild hills of Carrick, 
in order to escape the emissaries of Edward, Robert the 
Bruce on one occasion passed the night under the shelter of 
a poor deserted cottage. Throwing himself down on a 
heap of straw, he lay upon his back, with his hands placed 
under his head, unable to sleep, but gazing vacantly upward 
at the rafters of the hut, disfigured with cobwebs. From 
thoughts long and dreary about the hopelessness of the en- 
terprise in which he was engaged, and the misfortunes he 
had already encountered, he was roused to take interest in 
the efforts of a poor industrious Spider, which had begun to 
ply its vocation with the first gray light of morning. The 
object of the animal was to swing itself, by its thread, from 
one rafter to another; but in the attempt it repeatedly 
failed, each time vibrating back to the point whence it had 
made the effort. Twelve times did the little creature try to 
reach the desired spot, and as many times was it unsuccess- 
ful. Not disheartened with its failure, it made the attempt 
once more, and, lo ! the rafter was gained. " The thirteenth 
time," said Bruce, springing to his feet; " I accept it as a 
lesson not to despond under difficulties, and shall once more 
venture my life in the struggle for the independence of my 
beloved country." The result is well known. ^ 

It is related in the life of Mohammed, that when he and 
Abubeker were fleeing for their lives before the Coreishites, 
they hid themselves for three days in a cave, over the mouth 
of which a Spider spread its web, and a pigeon laid two 
eggs there, the sight of which made the pursuers not go in 
to search for them.^ 

A similar story is told in the Lives of the Saints, of St. 
Felix of Nola : "But the Saint," says Butler, "in the mean 
time had slept a little out of the way, and crept through a 

1 Keddie's Cyclop, of Anecd., p. 288. 

2 Chamb. Misc., vol. xi. No. 100. Compare this story with that of 
Timour and the Ant. 

3 Ockley's Hist, of the Saracens, i. 36. 



hole in a ruinous old wall, which was instantly closed up 
by Spiders' webs. His enemies, never imagining anything 
could have lately passed where they saw so close a Spider's 
web, after a fruitless search elsewhere, returned in the even- 
ing without their prey. Felix finding among the ruins, 
between two houses, an old well half dry, hid himself in it 
for six months; and received daring that time wherewithal 
to subsist by means of a devout Christian woman. "^ 

It is said of Heliogabalus, that, for the purpose of esti- 
mating the magnitude of the City of Rome, he commanded 
a collection of Spiders to be made.^ 

Illustrative of the singularly pleasurable effect of music 
upon Spiders, in the Historic de la Musique, et de ses 
Effets, we find the following relation : 

" Monsieur de , captain of the Regiment of Na- 
varre, was confined six months in prison for having spoken 
too freely of M. de Louvois, when he begged leave of tiie gov- 
ernor to grant him permission to send for his lute to soften 
his confinement. He was greatly astonished after four days 
to see at the time of his playing the mice come out of their 
holes, and the Spiders descend from their webs, who came 
and formed in a circle round him to hear him with attention. 
This at first so much surprised him, that he stood still with- 
out motion, when having ceased to play, all those Spiders 
retired quietly into their lodgings; such an assembly made 
the oSicer fall into reflections upon what the ancients had 
told of Orpheus, Arion, and Amphion. He assured me 
he remained six days without again playing, having with 
difficulty recovered from his astonishment, not to mention a 
natural aversion he had for this sort of insects, nevertheless 
he began afresh to give a concert to these animals, who 
seemed to come every day in greater numbers, as if they had 
invited others, so that in process of time he found a hun- 
dred of them about him. In order to rid himself of them he 
desired one of the jailors to give him a cat, which he some- 
times shut up in a cage when he wished to have tliis com- 
pany and let her loose when he had a mind to dismiss them, 
making it thus a kind of comedy that alleviated his impris- 
onment. I long doubted the truth of this story, but it was 
confirmed to me six months ago by M. P , intendant 

* Z/i'ye.s' of the. Saints, i 177-8. Cf. Wanlcy's Wun.Iers, ii. 402. 
^ Bucke on Nature, ii. liK>. 


of the duchy of Y , a man of merit and probity, 

who played upon several instruments to the utmost excel- 
lence. He told me that being at , he went into his 

chamber to refresh himself after a walk, and took up a 
violin to amuse himself till supper time, setting a light upon 
the table before him ; he had not played a quarter of an hour 
before he saw several spiders descend from the ceiling, who 
came and ranged themselves round about the table to hear 
him play, at which he was greatly surprised, but this did not 
interrupt him, being willing to see the end of so singular an 
occurrence. They remained on the table very attentively 
till somebody came to tell him that supper was ready, when 
having ceased to play, he told me these insects remounted to 
their webs, to which he would suffer no injury to be done. 
It was a diversion with which he often entertained himself 
out of curiosity,"^ 

The Abbe Olivet has described an amusement of Pelisson 
during his confinement in the Bastile for refusing to betray 
to the government certain secrets intrusted to him by a 
friend who was a leading politician at the court of Louis 
XI Y., which consisted in feeding a Spider, which he dis- 
covered forming its web across the only air-hole of his cell. 
For some time he placed his flies at the edge of the window, 
while a stupid Basque, his sole companion, played on a 
bagpipe. Little by little the Spider used itself to distin- 
guish the sound of the instrument, and issued from its hole 
to run and catch its prey. Thus calling it always by the 
same sound, and placing the flies at a still greater distance, 
he succeeded, after several months, to drill the Spider by 
regular exercise, so that at length it never failed appearing 
at the first sound to seize on the fly provided for it, at the 
extremity of the cell, and even on the knees of the pris- 

1 Hist, de la Mus., i. 321, Hawkins' Hist, of 3fusic, iii. 117, note, 

2 Biogr. Univers., tome xxxiii. See also Arvine's Anecdotes, p. 402, 
To this account, in the Hist, of Insects printed by John Murray, 

1830, i, 269, is added: "The governor of the Bastile hearing that 
this unfortunate prisoner had found a solace in the society of a 
Spider, paid Pelisson a visit, desiring to see the manoeuvres of the 
insect. The Basque struck up his notes, the Spider instantly came 
to be fed by his friend; but the moment it appeared on the floor of 
the cell, the governor placed his foot on its body, and crushed jt to 


At a ladies' school at Kensington, England, an immense 
species of Spider is said to be uncomfortably common ; and 
that when the young ladies sing their accustomed hymn or 
psalm before morning and evening prayers, these Spiders 
make their appearance on the floor, or suspended overhead 
from their webs in the ceiling, obviously attracted by the 
"concord of sweet sounds."^ 

The following lines "to a Spider which inhabited a cell," 
are from the Anthologia Borealis et Australis : 

In this wild, groping, dark, and drearie cove, 

Of wife, of children, and of health bereft, 
I hailed thee, friendly Spider, who hadst wove 

Thy mazy net on yonder mouldering raft : 
Would that the cleanlie housemaid's foot had left 

Thee tarrying here, nor took thy life awaj^; 
For thou, from out this seare old ceiling's cleft, 

Came down each morn to hede my plaintive lay; 
Joying like me to heare sweete musick play, 
Wherewith I'd fein beguile the dull, dark, lingering day. 2 

"When the great and brilliant Lauzun was held in cap- 
tivity, his only joy and comfort was a friendly Spider : she 
came at his call ; she took her food from his finger, and well 
understood his word of command. In vain did jailors and 
soldiers try to deceive his tiny companion ; she would not 
obey their voices, and refused the tempting bait from their 
hand. Here, then, was not only an ear, but a keen power 
of distinction. The despised little animal listened with 
sweet affection, and knew how to discriminate between not 
unsimilar tones. "^ 

Quatremer Disjonval, a Frenchman by birth, was an ad- 
jutant-general in Holland, and took an active part on the 
side of the Dutch patriots when they revolted against the 
Stadtholder. On the arrival of the Prussian army under 
the Duke of Brunswick, he was immediately taken, tried, 
and, having been condemned to twenty-five years' imprison- 
ment, was incarcerated in a dungeon at Utrecht, where he 
remained eight years. During this long confinement, by 
many curious observations upon his sole companions, Spi- 
ders, he discovered that they were in the highest degree 

1 The Mirror, xxvii. 69. 

2 Hone's Ev. Day Book, i 334. 

3 Stray Leaves from the Book of Nature. 


sensitive of approaching; changes in the atmosphere, and 
that their retirement and reappearance, their weaving and 
general habits, were intimately connected with the changes 
of the weather. In the reading of these living barometers 
he became wonderfully accurate, so much so, that he could 
prognosticate the approach of severe weather from ten to 
fourteen days before it set in, which is proven by the follow- 
ing remarkable fact, which led to his release: "When the 
troops of the French republic overran Holland in the win- 
ter of 1794, and kept pushing forward over the ice, a sud- 
den and unexpected thaw, in the early part of December, 
threatened the destruction of the whole army unless it was 
instantly withdrawn. The French generals were thinking 
seriously of accepting a sum offered by the Dutch, and with- 
drawing their troops, when Disjonval, who hoped that the 
success of the republican army might lead to his release, 
used every exertion, and at length succeeded in getting a 
letter conveyed to the French general in 1*795, in which he 
pledged himself, from the peculiar actions of the Spiders, 
of whose movements he was enabled to judge with perfect 
accuracy, that within fourteen days there would commence 
a most severe frost, which would make the French masters 
of all the rivers, and afford them sufficient time to complete 
and make sure of the conquest they had commenced, be- 
''fore it should be followed by a thaw. The commander of 
the French forces believed his prognostication, and perse- 
vered. The cold weather, which Disjonval had predicted, 
made its appearance in twelve days, and with such inten- 
sity, that the ice over the rivers and canals became capable 
of bearing the heaviest artillery. On the 28th of January,- 
lt95, the French army entered Utrecht in triumph; and 
Quatremer Disjonval, who had watched the habits of his 
Spiders with so much intelligence and success, was, as a 
reward for his ingenuity, released from prison."^ 

In Bartholom^eus, De Proprietatibus Rerum (printed bv 
Th. Berthelet, 2tth Henry YIIL), lib. xviii. fol. 814, speak- 
ing of Pliny, we read : "Also he saythe, spynners (Spiders) 
ben tokens of divynation and of knowing what wether shal 
fal, for oft by weders that shal fal, some spin and weve 

Quart. Rev. for Jan. 1844. 


higher or lower. Also he saythe, that multytude of spyn- 
ners is token of moche reyne."^ 

Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 131, tells us: ''Spi- 
ders creep out of their holes and narrow receptacles against 
wind or rain; Minerva having made them sensible of an 
approaching storm."- 

Hone, in his Every Day Book, also mentions that from 
Spiders prognostications as to the weather may be drawn, 
and gives the following instructions to read this animal- 
barometer : " If the weather is likely to become rainy, 
windy, or in other respects disagreeable, they fix the term- 
inating filaments, on which the whole web is suspended, 
unusually short; and in this state they await the influence 
of a temperature which is remarkably variable. On the 
contrary, if the terminating filaments are uncommonly long, 
we may, in proportion to their length, conclude that the 
weather will be serene, and continue so at least for ten or 
twelve da3^s. But if the Spiders be totally indolent, rain 
generally succeeds; though, on the other hand, their activity 
during rain is the most certain proof that it will be only of 
short duration, and followed with fair and constant weather. 
According to farther observations, the Spiders regularly 
make some alterations in their webs or nets every twenty- 
four hours; if these changes take place between the hours 
of six and seven in the evening, they indicate a clear and 
pleasant night.'" 

Pausanias tells us that after the slaughter at Chseronea, 
the Thebans were obliged to place a guard within the walls 
of their city; bat which, however, after the death of Philip, 
and during the reign of Alexander, they drove out. For 
this action, this historian continues, it was that Divinity 
gave them tokens in the webs of Spiders of the destraction 
that awaited them. For, during the battle at Leuctra, the 
Spiders in the temple of Ceres Thesmophoros wove white 

1 This passage from Pliny is thus translated by Bostock and 
Riley : "Presages are also drawn from the Spider, for when a river 
is about to swell, it will suspend its web higher than usual. In 
calm weather these insects do not spin, but when it is cloudy they 
do, and hence it is, that a great number of cobwebs is a sure sign 
of showery weather." — Nat. Hist., xi. 2-1 (28). Trans., iii. 28. 

2 Brando's Pop. Antiq., iii. 223. 

3 IJv. Day Bk., i. 931. Quot. also in Chamb. Journ., 1st Sei\, 
vi. 95. 


webs about the doors ; but when Alexander and the Mace- 
donians attacked their dominions, their webs were found to 
be black. ^ 

It was thought by the Classical Ancients and the old 
English unlucky to kill Spiders ; and prognostications were 
made from their manner of weaving their webs.^ It is still 
thought unlucky to injure these animals. 

Park has the following note in his copy of Bourne and 
Brande's Popular Antiquities, p. 93 : " Small Spiders, termed 
money-spinners, are held by many to prognosticate good 
luck, if they are not destroyed or injured, or removed from 
the person on whom they are first observed." 

In Teviotdale, Scotland, "when Spiders creep on one's 
clothes, it is viewed as betokening good luck ; and to destroy 
them is equivalent to throwing stones at one's own head."^ 

In Maryland, this superstition is thus expressed: If jou 
kill a Spider upon your clothing, you destroy the presents 
they are then weaving for you. 

In the Secret Memoirs of Mr. Duncan Campbell, p. 60, 
in the chapter of omens, we read that " others have thought 
themselves secure of receiving money, if by chance a little 
Spider fell upon their clothes."* 

" When a Spider is found upon your clothes, or about 
your person," says a writer in the Notes and Queries,^ "it 
signifies that you will shortly receive some money. Old 
Fuller, who was a native of Northamptonshire, thus quaintly 
moralizes this superstition : * When a Spider is found upon 
your clothes, we used to say some money is coming toward 
us. The moral is this : such who imitate the industry of 
that contemptible creature may, by God's blessing, weave 
themselves into wealth and procure a plentiful estate.' "^ 

A South Northamptonshire superstition of the present 
day is, that, in order to propitiate money-spinners, they 
must be thrown over the left shoulder.^ 

It is most probable that Euclio, in Plautus' Aulularia, 

1 Pans. Hist, of Greece, B. 9, c. 6. 

2 Fosbr. Enc.ycl. of Aiitiq. 

3 Jamieson's Scottish Diet. 

* Brande's Fop. Antiq., ill. 223. 
6N and Q., iii. 3. 
« Worthies, p. 58. Pt. II. Ed. 1662. 
T N. and Q., ii. 165. 


would not suffer the Spiders to be molested because they 
were considered to bring good luck. 

Staphyla. Here in our house there's nothing else for thieves to 
gain, so filled is it with emptiness and cobwebs. 

EucUo. You hag of hags, I choose those cobwebs to be watched 
for me^ 

A superstition prevails among us that if a Spider ap- 
proaches, either by crawling toward or descending from 
the ceiling to a person, it forebodes good to such person ; 
and, on the contrary, if the Spider runs hurriedly away, it 
is an omen of bad luck. But if the Spider be a poisonous 
one, or a Fly-catcher, and it approaches you, some evil is 
about to befall you, which to avert you must cross your 
heart thrice. 

If you kill a Spider crossing your path, you will have 
bad luck. 

A Spider should not be killed in your house, but out of 
doors ; if in the house, our country people say you are 
" pulling down your house." 

If a Spider drops down from its web or from a tree di- 
rectly in front of a person, such person will see before night 
a dear friend. 

A variety of this superstition is, that, if the Spider be 
white, it foretells the acquaintance of a friend ; and if black, 
an enemy. 

In the Netherlands, a Spider seen in the morning fore- 
bodes good luck ; in the afternoon, bad luck,'^ 

There is a common saying at Winchester, England, that 
no Spider will hang its web on the roof of Irish oak in the 
chapel or cloisters;'^ and the cicerone, who shows the cathe- 
dral church at St. David's, points out to the visitor that the 
choir is roofed with Irish oak, which does not harbor Spiders, 
though cobwebs are plentifully seen in other parts of the 
cathedral.* This superstition (for it certainly is nothing 
more)^ probably originated with the old story of St. Pat- 
rick's having exorcised and banished all kinds of vermin 
from Ireland. 

The same virtue of repelling Spiders is attributed also to 

1 AuluL, A. i. Sc. 3. 

» Thorpe's North. Antiq., iii. 329. 

» N. and Q., 2d ed. iv. 298. * Ibid., iv. 

^ Gent. Mag., June, 1771, xli. 251. 



chestnut and cedar wood ;^ and the old roof at Turner's 
Court, in Gloucestershire, four miles from Bath, which is of 
chestnut, is said to be perfectly free from cobwebs;- hence 
also are the cloisters of New College, and of Christ's 
Church, in England, roofed with chestnut.^ 

A small Spider of a red color, called a Tainct in Eng- 
land, is accounted, by the country people, a deadly poison 
to cows and horses ; so when any of their cattle die sud- 
denly and swell up, to account for their deaths, they say 
they have "licked a Tainct." Browne thinks this is, most 
probably, but a vulgar error.'* 

It is a very ancient and curious belief that there exists 
a remarkable enmity between the Spider and serpents,^ and 
more especially between the Spider and the toad ; and many 
curious stories are told of the combats between these ani- 
mals. The following, related by Erasmus, which he asserts 
he had directly from one of the spectators, is probably the 
most remarkable, and we insert it in the words of Dr. James : 
"A person (a monk)*^ lying along upon the floor of his 
chamber in the summer-time to sleep in a supine posture, 
when a toad, creeping out of some green rushes, brought 
just before in to adorn the chimney, gets upon his face and 
with his feet sits across his lips. To force otf the toad, says 
the historian, would have been accounted death to the 
sleeper; and to leave her there, very cruel and dangerous; 
so that upon consultation, it was concluded to find out a Spi- 
der, which, together with her web and the window she was 
fastened to, was brought carefully, and so contrived as to be 
held perpendicularly to the man's face; which was no sooner 
done but the Spider, discovering his enemy, let himself down 
and struck in his dart, afterward betaking himself up again 
to his web : the toad swelled, but as yet kept his station. 

1 N. and Q., 2d ed. iv. 5-23. 2 /^^^v/., iv. 421. 3 Ibid., iv. 298. 
^ Vulg. Err., B. iii. c. 277. Works, ii, 527. 

5 Pliny says the Spider, poised in its web, will throw itself upon 
the head of a serpent as it lies stretched beneath the shade of the 
tree where it has built, and with its bite pierce its brain ; such is the 
shock, he continues, that the creature will hiss from time to time, 
and then, seized with vertigo, coil round and round, while it iinds 
itself unable to take to flight, or so much as to break the \Veb of the 
Spider, as it hangs suspended above; this scene, he concludes, only 
ends with its death. — Nat. Ilist., x. 95. 

6 Browne's Works, ii. 524, note. 



The second wound is given quickly after by the Spider, 
upon which he swells yet more, but remained alive still, 
Tlie Spider, coming down again by his thread, gives the 
third blow, and the toad, taking off his feet from over the 
man's mouth, fell off dead."^ 

The following cosmogony is found in the sacred writings 
of the Pundits of India: A certain immense Spider was the 
origin, the first cause of all things; which, drawing the mat- 
ter from its own bowels, wove the web of tliis universe, and 
disposed it with wonderful art; she, in the mean time, sitting 
in the center of her work, feels and directs the motion of 
every part, till at length, when she has pleased herself suffi- 
ciently in ordering and contemplating this web, she draws 
all the threads she had spun out again into herself; and, 
having absorbed them, the universal nature of all creatures 
vanishes into nothing.^ 

Among the Chululahs of our western coast, Capt. Stuart 
informs me there is a vague superstition that the Spider is 
connected with the origin of the world. To what extent 
this curious notion prevails, or anything more concerning it, 
I have been unable to learn. 

The natives of Guinea, says Bosman, believe that the first 
men were created by the large black Spider, which is so com- 
mon in their country, and called in their jargon "Ananse;" 
nor is there any reasoning, continues this traveler, a great 
number of them out of it.^ Barbot also remarks that, in the 
belief of the G uinea negroes, the black Ananse created the 
first man.* 

That the Spider should be connected with the origin of the 
world and man in the several beliefs of the Hindoos, Chu- 
lulahs, and negroes, races so widely different and separated 
from one another, is a coincidence most remarkable, 

A large and hideous species of Spider, said to be only 
found in the palace of Hampton Court, England, is known 
by the name of the " Cardinals." This name has been given 
them from a superstitious belief that the spirits of Car- 

1 Med. Diet., sub Araneus. 

2 Univers. Hist., i. 48, also Gent. Mag., xli. 400. 

' Trav., p. 322, and Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 726. Bos- 
man says this " was the greatest piece of ignorance and stupidity he 
observed in the negroes," 

* Churchill's Col. of V. and T., v. 222. 


diaal Wolsey and his retinue still haunt the palace in their 
shape. ^ 

In running across the carpet in an evening, with the 
shade cast from their large bodies by the light of the lamp 
or candle, these " Cardinals" have been mistaken for mice, 
and have occasioned no little alarm to some of the more 
nervous inhabitants of the palace.'^ 

The story of the gigantic Spider found in the Church of 
St. Eustace, at Paris, in Chambers' Miscellany, is related as 
follows : It is told that the sexton of this church was sur- 
prised at very often discovering a certain lamp extinguished 
in the morning, notwithstanding it had been duly replenished 
with oil the preceding evening. Curious to learn the cause 
of this mysterious circumstance, he kept watch several even- 
ings, and was at last gratified by the discovery. During the 
night he observed a Spider, of enormous dimensions, come 
down the chain by which the lamp was suspended, drink up 
the oil, and, when gorged to satiety, slowly retrace its steps 
to a recess in the fretwork above. A similar Spider is said 
to have been found, in 1751, in the cathedral church of Mi- 
lan. It was observed to feed also on oil. When killed, it 
weighed four pounds ! and was afterward sent to the impe- 
rial museum at Vienna.^ 

The following remarkable anecdote is translated from the 
French : " M. F de Saint Omer laid on the chimney- 
piece of his chamber, one evening on going to bed, a small 
shirt-pin of gold, the head of which represented a fly. Next 

day, M. F would have taken his pin from the place 

where he had put it, but the trinket had disappeared. A 

servant-maid, who had only been in M. F 's service a 

few days, was solely suspected of having carried off the pin, 

and sent away. But, at length, M. F 's sister, putting up 

some curtains, was very much surprised to find the lost pin 
suspended from the ceiling in a Spider's web I And thus 
was the disappearance of the bijou explained : A Spider, 
deceived by the figure of the fly which the pin presented, had 
drawn it into his web."* 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times, it is 

1 iV. and Q., vii. 431. 

2 Chamb Misc., vol. xi. No, 100. 3 Ji^id, 
* The Mirror, xxvii. 69. 


stated that "Spiders do shun all such wals as run to mine, 
or are like to be ouerthrowne." ^ 

A Spider hanging from a tree is said to have made both 
Turenne and Gnstavus Adolphus shudder! ^ 

M. Zimmerman relates the following instance of antipathy 
to Spiders: "Being one day in an English company," says 
he, "consisting of persons of distinction, the conversation 
happened to fall on antipathies. The greater part of the 
company denied the reality of them, and treated them as 
old women's tales ; but I told them that antipathy was a 
real disease. Mr. William Matthew, son of the Governor 
of Barbados, was of ray opinion, and, as he added that he 
himself had an extreme antipathy to Spiders, he was laughed 
at by the whole company. I showed them, however, that 
this was a real impression of his mind, resulting from a 
mechanical effect. Mr. John Murray, afterward Duke of 
Athol, took it into his head to make, in Mr. Matthew's pres- 
ence, a Spider of black wax, to try whether this antipathy 
would appear merely on the sight of the insect. He went 
out of the room, therefore, and returned with a bit of black 
wax in his hand, which he kept shut. Mr. Matthew, who 
in other respects was a sedate and amiable man, imagining 
that his friend really held a Spider, immediately drew his 
sword in a great fury, retired with precipitation to the wall, 
leaned against it, as if to run him through, and sent forth 
horrible cries. All the muscles of his face were swelled, his 
eye-balls rolled in their sockets, and his whole body was as 
stiff as a post. We immediately ran to him in great alarm, 
and took his sword from him, assuring him at the same time 
that Mr. Murray had nothing in his hand but a bit of wax, 
and that he himself might see it on the table where it was 
placed. He remained some time in this spasmodic state, 
and I was really afraid of the consequences. He, however, 
gradually recovered, and deplored the dreadful passion into 
which he had been thrown, and from which he still suffered. 
His pulse was exceedingly quick and full, and his whole body 
was covered with a cold sweat. After taking a sedative, he 
was restored to his former tranquillity, and his agitation 
was attended with no other bad consequences."^ 

1 B. 7, c. XV. p. 065. Printed 1G13. 

2 Eliz. Cook's Journ.y vii. 378. 

3 ^Vanley's Wo7iders, i. 20. 


In Batavia, New York, on the evening of the 13th of 
September, 1834, Hon. David E. Evans, assent of the Hol- 
land Land Company, discovered in his wine-cellar a live 
striped snake, about nine inches in length, suspended be- 
tween two shelves, by the tail, by Spiders' web. From the 
shelves being two feet apart, and the position of the web, 
the witnesses were of opinion the snake could not have 
fallen by accident into it, and thus have become inextricably 
entangled, but that it had been actually captured, and drawn 
up so that its head could not reach the shelf below by about 
an inch, by Spiders, and of a species much smaller than the 
common fly, three of which at night were seen feeding upon 
it, while it was yet alive. 

Hon. S. Cumraings, first Judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas in his count}^ and also Postmaster of Batavia, and Mr. 
D. Lyman Beecher have described this phenomenon, and 
given the names of quite a number of gentlemen who wit- 
nessed it, and will testify to the accuracy of their accounts. 
Says Mr. Cummings : " Upon a critical examination through 
a magnifying glass, the following curious facts appeared. 
The mouth of the snake was fast tied up, by a great number 
of threads, wound around it so tight that he could not run 
out his tongue. His tail was tied ir^ a knot, so as to leave 
a small loop, or ring, through which the cord was fastened ; 
and the end of the tail, above this loop, to the length of 
something over half an inch, was lashed fast to the cord, to 
keep it from slipping. As the.,snake hung, the length of the 
cord, from his tail to the focus to which it was fastened, was 
about six inches; and a little above the tail, there was ob- 
served a round ball, about the size of a pea. Upon inspec- 
tion, this appeared to be a green fly, around which the cord 
had been wound as a windlass, with which the snake had 
been hauled up ; and a great number of threads were 
fastened to the cord above, and to the rolling side of this 
ball to keep it from unwinding, and letting the snake down. 
The cord, therefore, must have been extended from the focus 
of this web to the shelf below where the snake was lying 
when first captured; and being made fast to the loop in liis 
tail, the fly was carried and fastened about midway to the 
side of the cord. And then by rolling this fly over and over, 
it wound the cord around it, both from above and below, un- 
til the snake was raised to the proper height, and then was 
fastened, as before mentioned. 



"In this situation the suffering snake hung, alive, and 
furnished a continued feast for several large Spiders, until 
Saturday forenoon, the 16th, when some persons, by playing 
with him, broke the web above the focus, so as to let part of 
his body rest upon the shelf below. In this situation he 
lingered, the Spiders taking no notice of him, until Thurs- 
day, eight days after he was discovered, when some large 
ants were found devouring his body."^ 

At a recent meeting of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 
Philadelphia, Mr. Lesley read the following extract from a 
letter written by Mr. E. A. Spring, of Eagleswood, X. J. : 

"I was over on the South Amboy shore with a friend, 
walking in a swampy wood, where a dyke was made, some 
three feet wide, when we discovered in the middle of this 
ditch a large black Spider making very queer motions for a 
Spider, and, on examination, it proved that he had caught 
a fish. 

"He was biting the fish, just on the forward side of the 
dorsal fin, with a deadly gripe, and the poor fish was swim- 
ming round and round slowly, or twisting its body as if in 
pain. The head of its black enemy was sometimes almost 
pulled under water, but never entirely, for the fish did not 
seem to have had enough strength, but moved its fins as if 
exhausted, and often rested. At last it swam under a float- 
ing leaf at the shore, and appeared to be trying, by going 
under that, to scrape off the Spider, but without effect. 
They then got close to the bank, when suddenly the long 
black legs of the Spider came up out of the water, where 
they had possibly been embracing a fish (I have seen Spiders 
seize flies with all their legs at once), reached out behind, and 
fastened upon the irregularities of the side of the ditch. The 
Spider then commenced tugging to get his prize up the bank. 
My friend stayed to watch them, while I went to the nearest 
house for a wide-mouthed bottle. During the six or eight 
minutes that I was away, the Spider had drawn the fish en- 
tirely out of the water, when they had both fallen in again, 
the bank being nearly perpendicular. There had been a 
great struggle ; and now, on my return, the fish was already 
hoisted head first more tiian half his length out on the land. 
The fish was very much exhausted, hardly making any move- 

1 Silliman's JournaL xxvii. 307-10. 



ment, and the Spider had evidently gained the victory, and 
was slowly and steadily tugging him up. He had not once 
quitted his hold during the quarter to half an hour that we ^ 
had watched them. He held, with his head toward the 
fish's tail, and pulled him up at an angle of forty-five de- 
grees by stepping backward The Spider was three- 
fourths of an inch long, and weighed fourteen grains ; the 
fish was three and one-fourth inches long, and weighed 
sixty- six grains."^ 

The following interesting account of the rarely-witnessed 
phenomenon of a shower of webs of the Gossamer-spider, 
Aranea ohtextrix, is* given us by Mr. White: "On the 
21st of September, 1741, being intent on field diversions, I 
rose," says this gentleman, "before daybreak; when 1 came 
into the enclosures, I found the stubbles and clover grounds 
matted all over with a thick coat of cobweb, in the meshes 
of which a copious and heavy dew hung so plentifully, that 
the whole face of the country seemed, as it were, covered 
with two or three setting-nets, drawn one over another. 
When the dogs attempted to hunt, their eyes were so 
blinded and hood-winked that they could not proceed, but 
were obliged to lie down and scrape the incumbrances from 
their faces with their fore-feet As the morning ad- 
vanced, the sun became bright and warm, and the day turned 
out one of the most lovely ones which no season but the 
autumn produces ; cloudless, calm, serene, and worthy of 
the south of France itself. 

"About nine an appearance very unusual began to demand 
our attention, a shower of cobwebs falling from very elevated 
regions, and continuing, without any interruption, till the 
close of the day. These webs v/ere not single filmy threads, 
floating in the air in all directions, but perfect flakes of rags ; 
some near an inch broad, and five or six long. On every 
side, as the observer turned his eyes, might he behold a 
continual succession of fresh flakes falling into his sight, 
and twinkling like stars. "^ 

The Times of October 9th, 1826, records another shower 
of gossamer as follows : " On Sunday, Oct. 1st, 1826, a phe- 
nomenon of rare occurrence in the neighborhood of Liver- 
pool was observed in that vicinage, and for many miles dis- 

1 Annual of Set. Disc, 1862, p. 335. 

2 Nat. Hist. o/Selborne, p. 285, 


tant, especially at Wigan. The fields and roads were 
covered with a light filmy substance, which, by many per- 
sons, was mistaken for cotton ; although they might have 
been convinced of their error, as staple cotton does not ex- 
ceed a few inches in length, while the filaments seen in such 
incredible quantities extended as many yards. In walking 
in the fields the shoes were completely covered with it, and 
its floating fibres came in contact with the face in all direc- 
tions. Every tree, lamp-post, or other projecting body had 
arrested a portion of it. It profusely descended at Wigan 
like a sleet, and in such quantities as to affect the appear- 
ance of the atmosphere. On examination it was found to 
contain small flies, some of which were so diminutive as to 
require a magnifying glass to render them perceptible. The 
substance so abundant in quantity, was the gossamer of the 
garden, or field Spider, often met with in fine weather in 
the country, and of which, according to Buffon, it would 
take 663,552 Spiders to produce a single pound. "^ 

*'In the yeare that L. Paulus and C. Marcellus were 
Consuls,'! says Pliny, "it rained wool about the castle Ca- 
rissa, neare to which a yeare after, T. Annius Milo was 
slaine."^ This rain of wool was doubtless a shower of gos- 

It was an old and strange notion that the gossamer webs 
were composed of dew burned by the sun. Says Spenser : 

Moi'e subtle web Arachne cannot spin ; 

Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven see, 

Of scorched dew, do not in th' ayre more lightly flee.' 

Thomson also : 

How still the breeze! save what the filmy threads 
Of dew evaporate brushes from the plain.* 

And Quarles : 

And now autumnal deivs were seen 
To cobweb evei'y green. ^ 

Likewise Blackmore : 

1 Hone's Eo. Day Bk., p 1832. 

2 Nat. ILst., ii. 54. Holl. Trans., p. 27. F. 
' Faerie Queene, B. 2, c. xii. s. 77. 

* Seasons: Summer, 1. 1209. 
» Emblems, p. 375. 


How part is spun in silken threads, and clings, 
Entangled in the grass, in gluey strings.^ 

Henry More also mentions this old belief; but suspected, 
however, the true origin and use of the filmy threads: 

As light and thin as cobivebs that do fly 
In the blue air caused by th' autumnal sun, 
That boils the dew, that on the earth doth lie ; 
May seem this whitish rag then is the scum ; 
Unless that wiser men mak't ih.e field- spider' s loom.^ 

Jamieson, in his Scottish Dictionary, gives sun-dew webs 
as a name given in the South of Scotland to the gossamer. 

The Swedes call a cobweb diuaergsnaet, from dwaerg, a 
species of malevolent fairy or demon ; very ingenious, and 
supposed often to assume the appearance of a Spider, and 
to form these nets. The peasants of that country say, 
Jorden naefjar sig, "the earth covers itself with a net," 
when the whole surface of the ground is covered with gos- 
samer, which, it is commonly believed, indicates the seed- 

Yoss, in a note on his Luise (iii. lY), says -that the 
popular belief in Germany is, that the gossamers are woven 
by the Dwarfs. Keightley thinks the word gossamer is a 
corruption of gorse, or goss samyt, i.e. the samyt, or finely- 
woven silken web that lies on the gorse or furze.* 

A learned man and good natural philosopher, and one of 
the first Fellows of the Royal Society, Robert Hooke, the 
author of Microgro.phia, gravely remarked in his scientific 
disquisition on the gossamer, that it "was not unlikely, but 
those great white clouds, that appear all the summer time, 
may be of the same substance !! "^ 

The following well-authenticated incident is told b}'- Tur- 
ner as having occurred when he was a young practitioner: 
A certain young woman was accustomed, when she went 

1 Blackmore, Prince Arthur. 

2 Quot. in the Athenseum, v. 126. 
^ Jamieson' s Scot. Diet., iv. 133. 

* Keightley's Fairg 3Iythol., p. 514. 

s Microgr., p. 202. It has been objected, say Kirby and Spence, 
to the excellent primitive writer, Clemens Komanus, that he believed 
the absurd fable of the phoenix. But surely this may be allowed 
for in him, who was no naturalist, when a scientific natural philoso- 
pher could believe that the clouds are made.of Spiders' web ! — In- 
trod., ii. 331, note. 


into the vault after night, to go Spider-hunting, as she 
called it, setting fire to the webs of Spiders, and burning 
the insects with the flame of the candle. It happened at 
length, however, after this whimsey had been indulged a 
long time, one of the persecuted Spiders sold its life much 
dearer than those hundreds she had destroyed, and most 
effectually cured her of her idle cruel practice ; for, in the 
words of Dr. James, "lighting upon the melted tallow of 
her candle, near the flame, and his legs becoming entangled 
therein, so that he could not extricate himself, the flame or 
heat coming on, he was made a sacrifice to his cruel perse- 
cutor, who, delighting her eyes with the spectacle, still 
waiting for the flame to take hold of him, he presently 
burst with a great crack, and threw his liquor, some into 
her eyes, but mostly upon her lips; by means of which, 
flinging away her candle, she cried out for help, as fancying 
herself killed already with the poison." In the night the 
woman's lips swelled excessively, and one of her eyes was 
much inflamed. Her gums and tongue were also affected, 
and a continual vomiting attended. For several days she 
suffered the greatest pain, but was finally cured by an old 
woman with a preparation of plantain leaves and cobwebs 
applied to the eyes, and taken inwardly two or three times 
a day. 

Before this accident happened to her, this woman asserted 
that the smell of the Spiders burning oftentimes so afi'ected 
her head, that objects about her seemed to turn round ; she 
grew faint also with cold sweats, and sometimes a light 
vomiting followed, yet so great was her delight in torment- 
ing these creatures, and driving them from their webs, that 
she could not forbear, till she met with the above narrated 

A similar story is related by Nic. Nicholas of a man he 
saw at his hotel in Florence, who, burning a large black 
Spider in the flame of a candle, and staying for some time 
in the same room, from the fumes arising, grew feeble, and 
fell into a fainting fit, suflering all night great palpitation 
at the heart, and afterward a pulse so ver}' low as to be 
scarcely felt.^ 

Several monks, in a monastery in Florence, are said to 

1 James's Med. Diet. 2 ji^id. 


have died from the effects of drinking wine from a vessel in 
which there was afterward found a drowned Spider.^ 

There are two animals to which the Italians give the 
name Tarantula: the one is a species of Lizard, whose bite 
is reputed mortal, found about Fondi, Cajeta, and Capua; 
the other is a large Spider, found in the fields in several 
parts of Italy, and especially at Tarentum — hence the name, 
" Such as are sUmghj this cveaiure (the Ai^ajwa Tarantula) ,^^ 
says Misson, ''make a thousand different gestures in a mo- 
ment ; for they weep, dance, tremble, laugh, grow pale, cry, 
swoon away, and, after a few days of torment, expire, if 
they be not assisted in time. They find some relief by 
sweating and antidotes, but music is the great and specific 
remedy. A learned gentleman of unquestionable credit told 
me at Rome, that he had been twice a witness both of the 
disease and of the cure. They are both attended with cir- 
cumstances that seem very strange; but the matter of fact 
is well attested, and undeniable."^ Such is the story gen- 
erally told, believed, and unquestioned, that has found its 
way into the works of many learned travelers and natural- 
ists, but which is without the slightest shadow of truth. 

"I think I could produce," continues the deluded Misson, 
"natural and easy reasons to explain this effect of music; 
but without engaging myself in a dissertation that would 
carry me too far, I shall content myself with relating some 
other instances of the same kind : Every one knows the 
efficacy of David's harp to restore Saul to the use of his 
reason. I remember Lewis Guyon, in his Lessons, has a 
story of a lady of his acquaintance, who lived one hundred 
and six years without ever using any other remedy than 
music ; for which purpose she allowed a salary to a certain 
musician, whom she called her physician ; and I might add 
that I was particularly acquainted with a gentleman, very 
much subject to the gout, who infallibly received ease, and 
sometimes was wholly freed from his pains by a loud noise. 
He used to make all his servants come into his chamber, 
and beat with all their force upon the table and floor ; and 
the noise they made, in conjunction with the sound of the 
violin, was his sovereign remedy."^ 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times, printed 

1 James's 3Ied. Diet. 

2 Harris's Coll. of Voij. and Trav., ii. 586-7. ' Ibid. 


ill London, the year 1619, we find the following: "Alexan- 
der Alexancb'inus proceedeth farther, affirming that he 
beheld one wounded by this Spider, to dance and leape 
about incessantly, anc^ the Musitians (finding themselves 
wearied) gave over playing : whereupon, the poore offended 
dancer, hauing vtterly lost all his forces, fell downe on the 
ground, as if he had bene dead. The Musitians no sooner 
began to playe againe, but hee returned to himselfe, and 
mounting vp vpon his feet, danced againe as lustily as 
formerly hee had done, and so continued dancing still, til 
hee found the harme asswaged, and himselfe entirely re- 
covered. Heereunto he addeth, that when it hath hap- 
pened, that a man hath not beene thorowly cured by Mu- 
sique in this manner; within some short while after, hear- 
ing the sound of Instruments, hee hath recouered footing 
againe, and bene enforced to hold on dancing, and never to 
ceasse, till his perfect and absolute healing, which (question- 
lesse) is admirable in nature."^ 

Robert Boyle, in his Usefulness of Xatural Philosophy, 
among other stories of the power of music upon those bit- 
ten by Tarantulas, mentions the following : " Upiphanius 
Ferdinandua himself not only tells us of a man of 94 years 
of age, and weak, that he could not go, unless supported 
by his staff, who did, upon the hearing of musick after he 
was bitten, immediately fall a dancing and capering like a 
kid ; and affirms that Tarantulas themselves may be brought 
to leap and dance at the sound of lutes, small drums, bag- 
pipes, fiddles, etc.; but challenges those, that believe them 
not, to come and try, promising them an occular conviction : 
and adds what is very memorable and pleasant, that not 
only men, in whom much may be ascribed to fancy, but 
other animals being bitten, may likewise, by musick, be re- 
duced to leap or dance : for he saith, he saw a Wasp, which 
being bitten by a Tarantula, whilst a lutanist chanced to 
be by; the musician, playing upon his instrument gave 
them the sport of seeing both the Wasp and Spider begin 
to dance: Annexing, that a bitten Cock did the like."'^ 

In an Italian nobleman's palace, Skippon saw a fellow 
who was bitten by a Tarantula; "he danced," says this 
traveler, " very antickly, with naked swords, to a tune played 

1 Treasvrie of And. and Jfod. Times, p. 393. 
» Boyle's Works, ii. 181-2. 


on an instrument." The Italians say that if the Spider be 
immediately killed, no such effects will appear; but as long 
as it lives, the person bitten is subject to these paroxysms, 
and when it dies he is free. Skippon says that usually they 
are the poorer sort of people who say they are bitten, and 
they beg money while they are in these dancing fits.^ 

Bell was informed at Buzabbatt (in Persia) that the cele- 
brated Kashan Tarantula "neither stings nor bites, but 
drops its venom upon the skin, which is of such a nature 
that it immediately penetrates into the body, and causes 
dreadful symptoms ; such as giddiness of the head, a violent 
pain in the stomach, and a lethargic stupefaction. The 
remedy is the application of the same animal when bruised 
to the part affected, by which the poison is extracted. They 
also make the patient," continues this traveler, "drink abund- 
ance of sweet milk, after which he is put in a kind of tray, 
suspended by ropes fixed in the four corners ; it is turned 
round till the ropes are twisted hard together, and, when let 
go at once, the untwining causes the basket to run round 
with a quick motion, which forces the patient to vomit. "^ 

Skippon was shown by Corvino, in his Museum at Rome, 
"a Tarantula Apula, which he kept some time alive; and 
the poison of it, he said, broke two glasses."^ 

In the Treasvrie of Avncient and Moderne Times, it is 
stated of "Harts, that when they are bitten or stung by a 
venomous kinde of Spiders, called jDhalanges; they heale 
themselves by eating Greiiisses, though others do hold, that 
it is by an Hearb growing in the water."* 

Diodorus Siculus tells us that there border upon the 
country of the Acridophagi a large tract of land, rich in 
fair pastures, but desert and uninhabited ; not that there 
were never any people there, but that formerly, when it was 
inhabited, an immoderate rain fell, which bred a vast host 
of Spiders and Scorpions : that these implacable enemies of 
the country increased so, that though at first the whole na- 
tion attempted to destroy them (for he v.^ho was bitten or 
stung by them, immediately fell dead), so that, not knowing 
where to remain, or how to get food, they were forced to fly 

1 Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., vi. 607. 

2 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., vii. 299. 

3 Astley's Col. of Voy. and Trav., vi. 656. 

4 B. 7, c. 15, p. 664. Printed 1613. 



to some other place for relief.^ Strabo has inserted also this 
miraculous story in his Geography.^ 

Mr. Nichols mentions Spiders as having been embroidered 
on the white gowns of ladies in the time of Queen Eliza- 

Sloane tells us the housekeepers of Jamaica keep large 
Spiders in their houses to kill cockroaches.^ 

Captain Dampier, after minutely describing in his quaint 
way the "teeth" of a "sort of Spider, some near as big as 
a Man's Fist," which are found in the West Indies, says : 
" These Teeth we often preserve. Some wear them in their 
Tobacco-pouches to pick their Pipes. Others preserve them 
for tooth-pickers, especially such as are troubled with the 
toothache ; for by report they will expell that Pain."^ These 
teeth, which are of a finely polished substance, extremely 
hard, and of a bright shining black, are often, in the Ber- 
mudas, for these qualities set in silver or gold and used also 
for tooth -pick s.^ 

Dr. Sparrman says that Spiders form an article of the 
Bushman's dainties ;' and Labillardiere tells us that the in- 
habitants of New Caledonia seek for and eat with avidity 
large quantities of a Spider nearly an inch long (which he 
calls Aranea edulis) and which they roast over the fire.^ 
Spiders are also eaten by the American Indians and Aus- 
tralians.^ Molien says : "The people of Maniana, south of 
Gambia and Senegal, are cannibals. They eat Spiders, 
Beetles, and old men."^° In Siam, also, we learn from Tur- 
pin, the egg-bags of Spiders are considered a delicate food. 
The bags of certain poisonous species which make holes in 
the ground in the woods are preferred. ^^ 

And Peter Martyr, in his History of the West Indies, 
makes the following statement : " The Chiribichenses (Carib- 

1 Diod., B. 3, c. 2. 

2 Strabo, B. 16, c. 6, I 13. 

3 Fosbr. Encyc. of Antiq , ii. 738. 

* Sloane's Hist, of Jamaica, ii. 195. 

5 Damp. Voy. Camp., p. 64. 

6 Hari'is's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ii. 242. Cf. Smith's Nature and 
Art, X. 257. 

7 Travels, i. 201. 

8 Voyage d la recherche de laPeronse, ii. 240. K. & S. Introd., i. 311. 
^ New Amer Cyclop. 

10 Trov. in Africa. Bucke on Nature^ ii. 297. 

11 Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ix. 612. 


beans) eate Spiders, Frogges, and whatsoever woormes, and 
lice also without loathing, although in other thinges they 
are so queasie stomaked, that if they see anything that doth 
not like them, they presently cast upp whatsoever is in their 

Reaumur tells us of a young lady who when she walked 
in her grounds never saw a Spider that she did not take and 
eat upon the spot.^ Another female, the celebrated Anna 
Maria Schurman, used to crack them between her teeth like 
nuts, which she affirmed they much resembled in taste, ex- 
cusing her propensity by saying that she was born under 
the sign Scorpio.^ " When Alexander reigned, it is reported 
that there was a very beautiful strumpet in Alexandria, that 
fed alwayes from her childhood on Spiders, and for that rea- 
son the king was admonished that he should be very carefuU 
not to embrace her, lest he should be poysoned by venome 
that might evaporate from her by sweat. Albertus Magnus 
also makes mention of a certain noble mayd of Collen, that 
was fed with Spiders from her childhood. And we in Eng- 
land have a great lady yet living, who will not leave ofif eat- 
ing of them. And Phaerus, a physician, did often eat them 
without any hurt at all."* 

La Lande, the celebrated French astronomer, we are told 
by Disjonval, ate as delicacies Spiders and Caterpillars, 
He boasted of this as a philosophic trait of character, that 
he could raise himself above dislikes and prejudices; and, 
to cure Madame Lepaute of a very annoying fear of, and 
antipathy to Spiders, it is said he gradually habituated her 
to look upon them, to touch, and finally to swallow them as 
readily as he himself.^ 

A German, immortalized by Rosel, used to eat Spiders 
by handfuls, and spread them upon his bread like butter, 
observing that he found them very useful, "wm sicli auszu- 

1 Hist, of West Indies, p. 301. 

2 Reaum., ii. 342. K & S. Introd., i. 311. 

^ Phil. Trans. Southey's Com. Place Bk., 3d S. p. 731. Shaw, 
Nat. Misc. 

4 Moufet, Theatr. Ins., p. 220. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts and Ser- 
pents, p. 789, 1067. Wanley's Wonders, ii. 459. 

5 Biogr. Univers., tome xxiii. p. 230, note. 

6 Rosel, iv. 257. K. & S. Introd., i. 311. 


The satirist, Peter Pindar, records the same of Sir Joshua 
Banks : 

How early Genius shows itself at times, 

Thus Pope, the prince of poets, lisped in rhytnes, 

And our Sir Joshua Banks, most strange to utter. 

To whom each cockroach-eater is a fool. 

Did, when a very little boy at school. 
Eat Spiders, spread upon his bread and butter. 

Conradus, bishop of Constance, at the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper, drank off a Spider that had fallen into his 
cup of wine, while he was busied in the consecration of the 
elements ; "yet did he not receive the least hurt or damage 

We learn from Poggio, the Florentine, that Zisca, the 
great and victorious reformer of Bohemia, was such an epi- 
cure, that he only asked for, as his share of the plunder, what 
he was pleased to call "the cobwebs, which hung from the 
roofs of the farmers' houses." It is said, however, that this 
was but one of his witty circumlocutions to express the hams, 
sausages, and pig-cheeks, for which Bohemia has always 
been celebrated.'- 

For the bite of all Spiders, according to Pliny, the best 
remedies are "a cock's brains, taken in oxycrate with a lit- 
tle pepper ; five ants, swallowed in drink; sheep's dung ap- 
plied in vinegar; and Spiders of any kind, left to putrify 
in oil."^ Another proper remedy, says this writer, is, "to 
present before the eyes of a person stung another Spider of 
the same description, a purpose for which they are preserved 
when found dead. Their husks also," he continues, "found 
in a dry state, are beaten up and taken in drink for a similar 
purpose. The young of the weasel, too, are possessed of a 
similar property."^ 

Among the remedies given by Pliny for diseases of eyes, 
is mentioned "the cobweb of the common fly-Spider, that 
which lines its hole more particularly. This," he continues, 
"applied to the forehead across the temples, in a compress 
of some kind or other, is said to be marvellously useful for 
the cure of defluxions of the eyes ; the web must be taken, 
however, and applied by the hands of a boy who has not 

1 Wanley's Wonders, ii. 459. 

2 Andrew's Anecd., p. 37. App. 

3 Nat. Hist., xxix. 27. Bost. & Rilcy. " Ibid. 


arrived at the years of puberty; the boy, too, must not 
show himself to the patient for three days, and during those 
three days neither of them must touch the ground with his 
feet uncovered. The white Spider with very elongated, 
thin legs, beaten up in old oil, forms an ointment which is 
used for the cure of albugo. The Spider, too, whose web, 
of remarkable thickness, is generally found adhering to the 
rafters of houses, applied in a piece of cloth, is said to be 
curative of defluxions of the eyes."^ 

As a remedy for the ears, Pliny says : " The thick pulp of 
a Spider's body, mixed with oil of roses, is used for the 
ears ; or else the pulp applied by itself with saifron or in 

For fractures of the cranium, Pliny says, cobwebs are 
applied, with oil and vinegar; the application never coming 
away till a cure has been effected. Cobwebs are good, too, 
he continues, for stopping the bleeding of wounds made in 
shaving.^ They are still used for this purpose, as also the 
fur from articles made of beaver. 

In Ben Jonson's Stable of News, Almanac says of old 
Penny boy (as a skit upon his penuriousness), that he 

Sweeps down no cobwebs here, 
But sells 'em for cut fingei^s ; and the Spiders, 
As creatures rear'd of dust, and cost him nothing, 
To fat old ladies' monkies.* 

And Shakspeare, in his Midsummer-Night's Dream, 
makes Bottom say to the fairy Cobweb : 

"I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master Cobweb. 
If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you."^ 

Pills formed of Spiders' webs are still considered an in- 
fallible cure for the ague.^ Dr. Graham, in his Domestic 
Medicine, prescribes it for ague and intermittent fever. And 
Spiders themselves, with their legs pinched off, and then 

1 Nat. Hist., xxix. 38. 

2 Ibid., xxix. 39. 3 Ibid., xxix. 3G. 

4 Staple of News, A. ii. So. 1, vol. v. p. 219. Lond. 1816. '* A 
Spider is usually given to monkeys, and is esteemed a sovereign 
remedy for the disorders those animals are principally subject to." 
— James's Med. Diet. Spiders are also fed to mocking-birds, not 
only as food, but also as an aperient. 

5 Mid. Night's Dream, Act iii. Sc. 1. 

6 Vide Eventful Life of a Soldier. Edinbg. 1852, 



powdered with flour, so as to resemble a pill, are also some- 
times given for ague.^ Dr. Chapman, of Philadelphia, states 
that in doses of five grains of Spiders' web, repeated every 
fourth or fifth hour, he has cured some obstinate intermit- 
tents, suspended the paroxysms of hectic, overcome morbid 
vigilance from excessive nervous mobility, and quieted irrita- 
tion of the system from various causes, and not less as con- 
nected with protracted coughs and other chronic pectoral 

Mrs. Delany, in a letter dated March 1st, It 43-4, gives 
two infallible recipes for ague. 

1st. Pounded ginger, made into paste with brandy, spread 
on sheep's leather, and a plaister of it laid over the navel. 

2d. A Spider put into a goose-quill, well sealed and se- 
cured, and hung about the child's neck as low as the pit of 
its stomach. 

Upon this Lady Llanover notes: "Although the pre- 
scription of the Spider in the quill will probably create 
amusement, considered as an old charm, yet there is no 
doubt of the medicinal virtues of Spiders and their webs, 
which have been long known to the Celtic inhabitants of 
Great Britain and Ireland.""* 

The above mentioned Dr. Graham states that he has 
known of a Spider having been sewed up in a rag and worn 
as a periapt round the neck to charm away the ague.* 

In the Netherlands, it is thought good for an ague, to in- 
close a Spider between the two halves of a nut-shell, and 
wear it about the neck.^ 

"In the diary of Elias Ashmole, 11th April, 1681, is pre- 
served the following curious incident: 'I took early in the 
morning a good dose of elixir, and hung three Spiders about 
my neck, and they drove my ague away. Deo gratias I' 
Ashmole was a judicial astrologer, and the patron of the 
renowned Mr. Lilly. Par nobile fratrum."** 

'Among the approved remedies of Sir Matthew Lister, I 
find," says Dr. James, "that the distilled water of black 

liV. and Q., 2d ed. x. 138. 

2 Fleme?its of Mat. Med. and Therap., PluLid. 1825. 

3 Chamb. Bk. of Days, i. 732. 

4 Grab. Domest. Med. 

5 Thorpe's North. iVythoL, iii. 329. 

6 Brand's Pop. An/iq., iii. 287. 


Spiders is an excellent cure for wounds, and that this was 
one of the choice secrets of Sir Walter Raleigh. . . . 

"The Spider is said to avert the paroxisms of fevers, if 
it be applied to the pulse of the wrist, or the temples ; but 
it is peculiarly recommended against a quartan, being en- 
closed in the shell of a hazlenut. . . . 

"The Spider, which some call the catcher, or wolf, being 
beaten into a plaister, then sewed up in linen, and applied to 
the forehead and temples, prevents the return of the tertian. 

There is another kind of Spider, which spins a white, 

fine, and thick web. One of this sort, wrapped in leather, 
and hung about the arm, will, it is said, avert the fit of a 
quartan. Boiled in oil of roses, and distilled into the ears, 
it eases (says Dioscorides, ii. 68) pains in those parts. . . . 

"The country people have a tradition, that a small quan- 
tity of Spiders' web, given about an hour before the fit of an 
ague, and repeated immediately before it, is efi'ectual in cur- 
ing that troublesome, and sometimes obstinate distemper. 
The Indians about North Carolina have great de- 
pendence on this remedy for ague, to which they are much 

"Of the cod or bags of Spiders, M. Bon caused a sort of 
drops to be made, in imitation of those of Goddard, because 
they contain a great quantity of volatile salt."^ 

Moufet, in Theatrum Insectorum, has the following : 
"Also that knotty whip of God, and mock of all physicians, 
the Gowt, which learned men say can be cured by no remedy, 
findes help and cure by a Spider layed on, if it be taken at 
that time when neither sun nor moon shine, and the hinder 
legs pulled off, and put into a deer's skin and bound to the 
pained foot, and be left on it for some time. Also for the 
most part we finde those people to be free from the gowt of 
hands or feet (which few medicaments can doe), in whose 
houses the Spiders breed much, and doth beautifie them with 

her tapestry and hangings Our chirurgeons cure 

warts thus: They wrap a Spider's ordinary web into the 
fashion of a ball, and laying it on the wart, they set it on 
fire, and so let it burn to ashes; by this means the wart is 

rooted out by the roots, and will never grow again 

I cannot but repeat a history that I formerly heard from 

^ James's Med. Diet. 

2 Geoffrey's Stihstances usrd i?i Med., p. oS8. 


our dear friend worthy to be believed, Brueriis. A lustfuU 
nephew of his, having spent his estate in rioting and brothel- 
houses,. being ready to undertake anything for money, to the 
hazzard of his life ; when he heard of a rich matron of Lon- 
don, that was troubled with a tirapany, and was forsaken of 
all physicians as past cure, he counterfeited himself to be a 
physician in practice, giving forth that he would cure her 
and all diseases. But as the custom is, he must have half in 
hand, and the other half under her hand, to be payed when 
she was cured. Then he gave her a Spider to drink, as 
supposing her past cure, promising to make her well in 
three dayes, and so in a coach with four horses he presently 
hastes out of town, lest there being a rumor of the death of 
her (which he supposed to be very neer).he should be ap- 
prehended for killing her. But the woman shortly after by 
the force of the venome was cured, and the ignorant physi- 
cian, who was the author of so great a work, was not known. 
After some moneths this good man returns, not knowing what 
had happened, and secretly enquiring concerning the state of 
that woman, he heard she was recovered. Then he began 
to boast openly, and to ask her how she had observed her 
diet, and he excused his long absence, by reason of the sicke- 
nesse of a principal friend, and that he was certain that no 
harm could proceed from so healthful physick; also he asked 
confidently for the rest of his reward, and to be given him 

"A third kind of Spiders," says Pliny, "also known as 
the 'phalangium,' is a Spider with a hairy body, and a head 
of enormous size. When opened, there are found in it two 
small worms, they say : these, attached in a piece of deer's 
skin, before sunrise, to a woman's body, will prevent con- 
ception, according to what CaBcilius, in his Commentaries, 
says. This property lasts, however, for a year only ; and, 
indeed, it is the only one of all the anti-conceptives that I 
feel myself at liberty to mention, in favour of some women 
whose fecundity, quite teeming with children (plena liberis), 
stands in need of some such respite."^ 

Mr. John Aubrey, in the chapter of his Miscellanies de- 
voted to Magick, gives the following : " To cure a Beast that 
is sprung, (that is) poisoned (It mostly lights upon Sheep): 

1 Moufet, Theatr. Insect., p. 237. Topsel's Hist, of Beasts and Ser- 
pents, p. 1073. 

'i ^^at. Hist., xxix. 27. 


Take the little red Spider, called a tentbob (not so big as a 
great pin's-head), the first you light upon in the spring of the 
year, and rub it in the palm of your hand all to pieces : and 
having so done, make water on it, and rub it in, and let it 
dry ; then come to the beast and make water in your hand, 
and throw it in his mouth. It cures in a matter of an hour's 
time. This rubbing serves for a whole year, and it is no 
danger to the hand. The chiefest skill is to know whether 
the beast be poisoned or no."^ Mr. Aubrey had this receipt 
from Mr. Pacy. 

In the year 1709, M. Bon, of Montpellier, communicated 
to the Royal Academy of that city a discovery-which he had 
made of a new kind of silk, from the very fine threads with 
which several species of Spiders (probably the Aranea dia- 
dema and others closely allied to it) inclose their eggs ; which 
threads were found to be much stronger than those compos- 
ing the Spider's web. They were easily separated, carded, 
and spun, and then afforded a much finer thread than that of 
the silk-worm, but, according to Reaumur, inferior to this 
both in luster and strength. They were also found capable 
of receiving all the different dyes with equal facility. M. 
Bon carried his experiments so far as to obtain two or three 
pairs of stockings and gloves of this silk, which were of an 
elegant gray color, and were presented, as samples, to the 
Academy. As the Spiders also were much more prolific, 
and much more hardy than silk-worms, great expectations 
were formed of benefit of the discovery. Reaumur ac- 
cordingly took up and prosecuted the inquiry with zeal. 
He computed that 663,522 Spiders would scarcely furnish a 
single pound of silk ; and conceived that it would be impos- 
sible to provide the necessarily immense numbers with flies, 
their' natural food. This obstacle, however, was soon re- 
moved, by his finding that they would subsist very well upon 
earth-worms chopped, and upon the soft ends or roots of 
feathers. But a new obstacle arose from their unsocial pro- 
pensities, which proved insurmountable ; for though at first 
they seemed to feed quietly, and even work together, several 
of them at the same web, yet they soon began to quarrel, 
and the strongest devoured the weakest, so that of several 
hundred, placed together in a box, but three or four re- 
mained alive after a few days ; and nobody could propose 
to keep and feed each separately. The silk was found to be 

1 Miscellanies, p. 138. 


naturally of different colors ; particularly white, yellow, gray, 
, sky-blue, and coffee-colored brown/ 

A Spider raiser in France, more recently, is said to have 
tamed eight hundred Spiders, which he kept in a single 
apartment for their silk.'-^ 

De Azara states that in Paraguay a Spider forms a 
spherical cocoon for its eggs, an inch in diameter, of a 
yellow silk, which the inhabitants spin on account of the 
permanency of the color.^ 

The ladies of Bermuda make use of the silk of the Silk- 
Spider, Epeira clavipes, for sewing purposes.* 

The Spider-web fabric has been carried so nearly to trans- 
parency (in Ilindostan) that the Emperor Aureugzebe is said 
to have reproved his daughter for the indelicacy of her 
costume, while she wore as many as seven thicknesses of it.^ 

Astronomers employ the strongest thread of Spiders, the 
one, namely, that supports the web, for the divisions of the 
micrometer. By its ductility this thread acquires about a 
fifth of its ordinary length.*^ 

Topsel, in his History of Four-footed Beasts and Ser- 
pents, has the following, which he calls an " old and com- 
mon verse : 

Nos aper auditu prtecellit, Aranea tactu, 
Vultur odoratu, lynx visu, simia gustu. 

Which may be Englished thus : 

To hear, the boar, to touch, the Spider us excells, 

The lynx to see, the ape to taste, the vulture for the smells." '' 

"It is m.anifest," says Moufet, "that Spiders are bred of 
some aereall seeds putrefied, from filth and corruption, be- 
cause that the newest houses the first day they are whited 
will have both Spiders and cobwebs in them."^ This theory 
of generation from putrefaction was a favorite one among 
the ancient writers; see the history of the Scorpion. 

1 Vide Hist, and Mem. de V Acad. Royaledes Sciences, anu. 1710; Dis- 
sert, by M. Bon, Sur Vutilite de la soye des Arraigi}6es, 8vo. Also, 
Bancroft on Permanent Colors, i. 101 ; and Shaw's Nat. Hist., vi. 481. 

2 New Amer. Cyclop. 

8 Voy. dans vAmer. 3ferid., i. 212. K. and S. Introd., i. 337. 
* Naturalist in Bermuda, p. 126. 

5 Atlantic Monthly, June, 1858, p. 92. 

6 Nouv. Diet, d'llist. Nat., ii. 280. K. and S. Introd., i. 337, note. 
' Hist, of Beasts and Serpents, p. 778, 

8 Theatr. lns.,i>. 235. Topsel's Trans., p. 1072. 


It may be new to many of our readers, who are familiar 
with the Elegy in a Country Church-yard, to be told that its 
author was at the pains to turn the characteristics of the 
Linnagan orders of insects into Latin hexamerters, the manu- 
script of which is still preserved in his interleaved copy of 
the " Systeraa Naturae." ^ 

It is related by Boerhaave, in his Life of Swammerdam, 
that when the Grand Duke of Tuscany was visiting with 
Mr. Thevenot the curiosities of Holland, in 1668, he found 
nothing more worthy of his admiration than the great natu- 
ralist's account of the structure of caterpillars, — for Swam- 
merdam, by the skillful management of instruments of won- 
derful delicacy and fineness, showed the duke in what man- 
ner the future butterfly, with all its parts, lies neatly folded 
up in the caterpillar, like a rose in the unexpanded bud. 
He was, indeed, so struck with this and other wonders of 
the insect world, disclosed to him by the great naturalist, 
that he made him the offer of twelve thousand florins to in- 
duce him to reside at his court ; but Swammerdam, from 
feelings of independence, modestly declined to accept it, 
preferring to continue his delightful studies at home.^ 

There is an epitaph in the church of St! Hilary at Poic- 
tiers, beginning ''Yermibus hie ponor," which the people 
interpreted to mean that a Saint was buried there who un- 
dertook to cure children of the worms. Women, accord- 
ingly used to scrape the tomb and administer the powder; 
but the clergy, to prevent this absurdity (for Luther had 
arisen), erected a barrier to keep them off. They soon be- 
gan, however, to carry away for the same purpose pieces of 
the wooden bars.^ 

1 7ns. Archit., p. 7. 

2 Swammerdam, Hist, of Ins., p. 5. 

3 Garasse, Recherches des Recherches de M. Estiene Pasquier, p. 357, 
Southey's Com. Place Bk., 3d S. p. 282. 



• A diseased woman at Patton, drinking of the water in 
which the bones of St. Milburge were washed, there came 
from her stomach "a filthie worme, ugly and horrible to be- 
hold, having six feete, two homes on his head, and two on 
his tayle." Brother Porter, in his Flowers of the Saints, 
tells this, and adds that the " worme was shutt up in a hol- 
low piece of wood, and reserved afterward in the monaste- 
rie as a trophy and monument of S. Milburg, untill, by the 
lascivious furie of him that destroyed all goodness in Eng- 
land, that with other religious houses and monasteries, went 
to ruin." Hence the "filthie worme" was lost, and we have 
nothing now instead but the Reformation.^ 

Capt. Clarke, in his passage from Dublin to Chester, on 
the 2d of September, 1733, met with a cloud "of flying in- 
sects of various sorts," which stuck about the rigging of the 
vessel in a surprising manner.^ 

De Geer, chamberlain to the King of Sweden, writes 
(iv. 63) that in January, 1749, at Leufsta, in Sweden, and 
in three or four neighboring parishes, the snow was covered 
with living worms and insects of various kinds. The peo- 
ple assured him they fell with the snow, and he was shown 
several that had dropped on people's hats. He caused the 
snow to be removed from places where these worms had 
been seen, and found several which seemed to be on the sur- 
face of the snow which had fallen before, and were covered 
by the succeeding. It was impossible that they could have 
come there from under the ground, which was then frozen 
more than three feet deep, and absolutely impervious to 
such insects. In 1750, he again discovered vast quantities 
of insects on the snow, which covered a large frozen lake 
some leagues from Stockholm. Preceding and accompany- 
ing both these falls of insects were violent storms that had 
torn up trees by the roots, and carried away to a great dis- 
tance the surrounding earth, and at the same time the insects 
which had taken up their winter quarters in it.'^ These in- 
sects were chiefly Brachyptera h., Aphodii, Spiders, cater- 
pillars, and particularly the larvse of the Telephorus fus- 
cus:^ Another shower of insects is recorded to have fallen 

1 Hone's Ev. Bay Bk., i. 294. 

2 Gent. Mag., iii.' 492. 3 /j/j.^ jxiv. 293. 
* K. and S. Introd., ii. 415. 



in Hungary, November 20, 16^2;^ another, also, in the 
newspapers of July 2d, 1810, to have fallen in France the 
January preceding, accompanied by a shower of red snow.^ 

In the Muses Threnodie, p. 213, we read that "many are 
the instances, even to this day, of charms practised among 
the vulgar, especially among the Highlands, attended with 
forms of prayer. In the Miscellaneous MS., written by 
Baillie Dundee, among several medicinal receipts I find an 
exorcism against all kinds of worms in the body, in the name 
of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be repeated three 
mornings, as a certain remedy."^ 

The Guahibo, Humboldt says, that ''eats everything that 
exists above, and everything under ground," eats insects, 
and particularly scolopendras and worms.^ The same trav- 
eler also says he has seen the Indian children drag out of 
the earth centipedes eighteen inches long, and more than 
half an inch broad, and devour them.^ 

" The seventeene of March, 1586," says John Stow in his 
Annales of England, "a strange thing happened, the like 
whereof before hath not beene heard of in our time. Master 
Dorington, of Spaldwicke, in the countie of Huntington, 
esquier, one of his maiesties gentlemen Pensioners, had a 
horse which died sodainly, and, being ripped to see the cause 
of his death, there was found in the hole of the hart of the 
same horse a strange worme, which lay on a round heape in 
a kail or skin of the likeness of a toade, which, being taken 
out and spread abroad, was in forme and fashion not casie to 
be described, the length of which worme divided into many 
greines to the number of fiftie (spread ft'om the bodie like 
the branches of a tree), was from the snowte to the ende of 
the longest greine, seventeene inches, having four issues in 
the greines, from the which dropped foorth a red water ; the 
body in bignes round about was three inches and a halfe, 
the colour whereof was very like a makerel. This monstrous 
worme, found in manner aforesaid, crauling to have got 
away, was stabbed in with a dagger and died, which, after 
being dried, was shewed to many honorable persons of the 

1 Ephem. Nat. Curios., 3 673. 80. 

2 K. and S. Introd., ii. 415, note. 

3 Brand's Pop. Antiq., iii. 273. 

* Pers. Nar., iv. 571. 5 Ibid., ii. 205. 

^ Ann. of Eng., p. 1219. 



Dr. Sparrman, in his journey to Paarl, an inland town 
at the Cape of Good Hope, having filled his insect-box with 
fine specimens, was obliged to put a " whole regiment of 
Hies and other insects " round the brim of his hat. Having 
entered the house of a rich old widow troubled with the gout, 
for food, he was warned by his servant that if she should 
happen to see the insects he would certainly be turned out 
of doors for a conjuror (hexmeester). Accordingly he was 
very careful to keep his hat always turned away from her, 
but all would not do — the old lady discovered the "little 
beasts," and to her greater astonishment that they were run 
through their bodies with pins. An immediate explanation 
was demanded ; and had the doctor not been just then la- 
menting with the widow for her deceased husband, and giv- 
ing dissertations on the dropsy and cough that carried off 
the poor man, the explanation he gave would hardly have 
been sufficient to quell the rage of this superstitious boor at 
the thought of there being a sorcerer in her house. ^ 

In several parts of Europe quite a trade is carried on 
in the way of buying and selling rare insects, chiefly the 
rare Alpine butterflies and moths. The instant the ento- 
mologist steps from his cairiage, in the celebrated valley of 
Chamouni, with net in hand, whence he is known to be a 
papillionist, he is surrounded by half a dozen Savoyard 
boys, from the age of fifteen down to eight, each v/ith a 
large collecting-box full of insects in his hands for sale, and 
with the scientist bargains for the insects that are found only 
on the mountains, and which these hardy chaps alone can 
obtain. There are again insect dealers on a larger scale, 
who live there, and have many of these boys in their employ; 
cue of which wholesale merchants, Michel Bossonney, at 
Martigni in the Yallais, in the year 1829, sold 7000 insects, 
mostly of rare and beautiful species. Another dealer, on a 
perhaps still larger scale, is M. Provost Duval, of Geneva, 
a highly respectable entomologist. In 1830, he could sup- 
ply upwards of 600 species of Lepidoptera, and as many 
Coleoptera, of the Swiss Alps, the south of France, and 
Germany, at prices varymg from one to fifteen francs each, 
according to their rarity. 

The advantage of this new traffic, both to the individuals 
engaged in it and to science, is great. Now the Sphinx 

» Voy. to C. of Good Hope, i. 45. 


(Deilephila) hippophaes, formerly sold at sixty francs each, 
and of which one of the first discovered specimens was sold 
for two hundred francs, is so plentiful, in consequence of tho 
numbers collected and reared through their several stages, hv 
the peasants all along the course of the Arve, where the 
plant, Hippophae i^hamoides, on which the larvae feed, and 
the imago takes its specific name, grows in profusion, that a 
specimen costs but three francs. A general taste also for the 
science, and an appreciation for beauty, is spread by the more 
striking Alpine species, such as Parnassius apollo and Gali- 
chroma alpina, not only among the travelers who buy them 
for their beauty, who before would hardly deign to look upon 
an insect, but among the more ignorant Alpine collectors 
themselves.^ • 

Navarette, under the head of " Insects and Yermin," speaks 
of an animal which the Chinese call Jen Ting, or Wall- 
dragon, because it runs up and down walls. It is also, says 
this traveler, called the Guard of the Palace, and this for the 
following reason : The emperors were accustomed to make 
an ointment of this insect, and some other ingredients, with 
which they anointed their concubines' wrists, as the mark of 
it continued as long as they had not to do with man; but 
as soon as they did so, it immediately vanished, by which 
their honesty or falsehood was discovered. Hence it came 
that this insect was called the Guard of the Court, or, of the 
court ladies. Navarette laments that all men have not a 
knowledge of this wonderful ointment.- 

Navarette tells us he once caught (in China?) a small in- 
sect that was injurious to poultry — "a very deformed insect, 
and of a strange shape" — when, as soon as it was known, 
several women ran to him to beg its tail. He gave it to 
them, and they told him it was of excellent use wlien dried, 
and made into powder, " being a prodigious help to women 
in labor, to forward their delivery, if they drank it in a little 

The Irish have a large beetle of which strange tales are 
believed; they term it the Coffin-cutter, and deem it in some 
way connected with the grave and purgatory.* 

1 Mag. of Nat. Hist, iv. 148-9. 

2 Hist, of China, B. I. c. 18, and ChurcliiU's Col. of Voy. and Trav., 
i. 39. 

3 Churchill's Col. of Voy. and Trav., i. 212. 

4 The Mirror, xix. 180. 


Turpin, in his History of Siam, says : " There is a very 
singular animal in Slam bred in the dung of ele- 
phants. It is entirely black, its wings are strong, and its 
head extremely curious : it is furnished On the top with 
several points, in the form of a trunk, and a small horn in 
the middle : it has four large feet, which raise it more than 
an inch from the ground : its back seems to be one very 
hard entire shell. It flies to the very top of the cocoa-trees, 
of which it eats the heart, and often kills them, if a remedy 
is not applied. Children play with them, and make them 
fight. "1 

General Count Dejeau, Aid-de-camp to Napoleon Bona- 
parte, was so anxious, says Jaeger, in his Ijife of Xorth 
American Insects, to increase the number of specimens in 
his entomological cabinet, that he even availed himself of 
his military campaigns for this purpose, and was continually 
occupied' in collecting insects and fastening them with pins 
on the outside of his hat, which was always covered with 
them. The Emperor, as well as the whole army, were ac- 
customed to see General Dejeau's head thus singularly orna- 
mented, even when in battle. But the departed spirits of 
those murdered insects once had their revenge on him ; for, 
in the battle of Wagram, in 1809, and while he was at the 
side of Napoleon, a shot from the enemy struck Dejeau's 
head, and precipitated him senseless from his horse. Soon, 
however, recovering from the shock, and being asked by the 
Emperor if he was still alive, he answered, " I am not dead ; 
but, alas ! my insects are all gone !" for his hat was literally 
torn to pieces."^ 

Professor Jaeger tells also the following anecdote of 
another passionate naturalist : The celebrated Prince Paul 
of Wiirtemberg, whom Mr. Jaeger met in 1829 at Port-au- 
Prince, being one day at the latter's house, shed tears of 
envy when he showed him the gigantic beetle Acttson, 
which, only a short time before, had been presented to him 
by the Haytien Admiral Banajotti, he having found it at the 
foot of a cocoa-nut tree on his plantation."' 

While traveling in Poland, Professor Jaeger visited the 
highly accomplished Countess Ragowska, at her country 
residence, when she exhibited her fine, scientifically-arranged 

^ Pinkerton's Col. of Voy. and Trav., ix. 032. 

'^ Hist, of Ins., p. 53-4. 3 ii,id. 



collection of butterflies and other insects, and told him that 
she had personally instructed her children in botany, history, 
and geography by means of her entomological cabinet — 
botany, from the plants on which the various larvae feed ; 
history, from the names, as Menelaus, Berenice, etc., given 
as specific names to the perfect insects ; and geography, from 
the native countries of the several specimens.^ From the 
scientific names of insects, and the technical terms employed 
in their study, quite a knowledge of Latin and Greek, and 
philology in general, might also be gained. 

In R. Brookes' "Natural History of Insects, with their 
properties and uses in medicine," we find the following 
statement: "There have been the solid shells of a sort of 
Beetle brought to England, that were found on the eastern 
coast of Africa, over against part of the Island of Mada- 
gascar, which the natives hang to their necks, and make use 
of them as whistles to call their cattle together."^ What this 
"sort of Beetle" is I have not been able yet to determine. 

Mr. Fitch W. Taylor, chaplain to the squadron com- 
manded by Commodore Geo. C. Read, gives a translation 
of several Siamese books, and among others the Siamese 
Dream-book. It was translated by Mrs. Davenport, and the 
subject is thus introduced : 

" In former times a great prophet and magician, who had 
much wisdom and could foretell all future events, gave the 
following interpretation of signs and dreams. Whosoever 
sees signs and visions, if he wishes to know whether they 
forebode good or evil, whether happiness or misery, if he 
dream of any animals, insects, birds, or fishes, and wishes 
to know the interpretation, let him examine this book." 

Of these signs and dreams I make extract of those which 
refer to insects, as follows : 

" If a person be alone, and an insect or reptile fall before 
the face, but the individual see it only without touching it, 
it denotes that some heavenly being will bestow great 
blessings on him. If it fall to the right side, it denotes that 
all his friends, wherever scattered abroad, shall again meet 
him in peace. If it fall behind the person, it denotes that 
he shall be slandered and maliciously talked of by his friends 

1 Hist, of Ins., p. 197. 

"^ Nat. Hist, of Ins., p. 35. 


and acquaintances. If in falling it strike the face, it de- 
notes that the individual will soon be married. If it strike 
the right arm, it denotes that the individual's wishes, what- 
ever they are, shall be accomplished. If it strike the left 
hand, it denotes that the individual will lose his friende 
by death. If it strike the foot, it denotes that whatever 
trouble the individual may have had, all shall vanish, and he 
shall reach the summit of happiness. If, after touching the 
foot, it should crawl upward toward the head, it denotes 
that the individual shall be raised to high office by the rulers 
of his country. If it crawl to the right side, it denotes 
that the person shall hear bad tidings of some absent friend. 
If the insect or reptile fall without touching the body, and 
immediately flee toward the northeast, it denotes deep but 
not lasting trouble ; if toward the northwest, it denotes 
that the person shall receive numerous and valuable pres- 
ents ; if toward the southeast, it denotes that he shall re- 
ceive great riches, and afterwards go to a distant land ; or 
that he shall go to a distant land, and there amass great 

"If an animal, insect, bird, or reptile, cross the path of 
any one as he walks along, the animal coming from the 
right, let him not proceed — some calamity will surely hap- 
pen to him in the way. If the animal come from the left, 
let him proceed — good fortune shall surely happen to him. 
If the animal proceed before him in the same road in which 
he intends to travel, it denotes good fortune 

" I now beg to interpret the signs of the night. If at 
midnight an individual hears the noises of animals in the 
house where he resides, I will show him whether they indi- 
cate good or evil. If any insect cry 'click, click, click,' he 
will possess real treasures while he abides there. If it cry 
'kek, kek,' it is an evil omen both to that and the neighbor- 
ing houses. If it cry 'chit, chit,' it denotes that he shall 
always feed upon the most sumptuous provisions. If it cry 
*keat, keat,' in a loud, shrill voice, it denotes that his resi- 
dence there shall be attended with evil. 

" I now beg to interpret with regard to the Spider. If a 
Spider on the ceiling utter a low, tremulous moan, it denotes 
that the individual who hears the noise shall either change 
his residence or that his goods shall be stolen. If it utter 
the same voice on the outside of the house, and afterward 


the Spicier crawl to the head of the bed, it denotes trouble- 
some visitors and quarrels to the residents."^ 

Thevenot, in his Travels into the Levant, relates the fol- 
lowing: " But I cannot tell what to say of a Moorish Wo- 
man who lives in a corner close by the quarter of France, 
and pulls worms out of Children's Ears. When a Child does 
nothing but cry, and that they know it is ill, they carry it 
to that Woman, who, laying the Child on its side upon her 
knee, scratches the ear of it, and then Worms, like those 
which breed in musty weevily Flower, seem to fall out of 
the Child's Ear ; then, turning it on the other side, she 
scratches the other Ear, out of which the like Worms drop 
also ; and in all there may come out ten or twelve, which 
she raps up in a Linen-Rag, and gives them to those that 
brought the Child to her, who keep them in that Rag at 
home in their House ; and when she has done so she gives 
them back the Child, which in reality cries no more. She 
once told me that she performed this by means of some 
words that she spake. There was a French Physician and 
a Naturalist there, who attentively beheld this, and told me 
that he could not conceive how it could be done ; but that 
he knew very well that if a child had any of these Worms 
in its head it would quickly die. In so much that the 
Moors and other inhabitants of Caire look upon this as a 
great Yertue, and give her every time a great many maidins 
(pieces of money). They say that it is a secret which hath 
been long in the Family. There are children every day car- 
ried to her, roaring and crying, and as many would see the 
thing done, need only to follow them, provided they be not 
Musulman Women who carry them, for then it would cost 
an Avanie; but when they are Christian or Jewish Women, 
one may easily enter and give a few maidins to that Worm- 

This is most probably but a sleight-of-hand performance, 
since ''worms, like those which breed in musty weevily 
flower," could easily be obtained and concealed in her hand 
or sleeve; imagination would then effect the cure, as prob- 
ably it had done the disease. 

Dr. Livingstone and his party, in traveling in South Af- 

1 Voy. round the World, ii. 35-7. 

2 Thevenot's Travels, Pt. I. p. 249. 


rica, sometimes suffered considerably from scarcity of meat, 
though not from absolute want of food. And the natives, 
says this traveler, to show their sympathy, gave the children, 
who suffered most, a large kind of caterpillar, which they 
seemed to relish. He concluded these insects could not be 
unwholesome, for the natives devoured them in large quan- 
tities themselves.^ 

1 Trav. and Res. in S. Africa, p. 48. 


33 (SVS) 


Abortion, Ant to cause, 170 ; 

from hurt, Cochineal to pre- 
vent, 262. 
Abraxas for curing diseases, 
' 37-39. 
Acantlwcinus sedilis, 73. 

tribulus, 74. 
Acaridse, 321, 
Acarus, 320, 321. 
Acketa domesiica, 92-97. 
Achetidse, 92-97. 
Acid made from Ants, 161. 
Acridites lincola, 126. 
Acridophagi, account of the, 120. 
Adultery, insect to detect, 367. 
Africa, Ants in, 166-7 ; Bees, 191, 

200 ; Butterflies, 227, 231 ; 

Caterpillars, 372; Crickets, 95; 

Dragon-flies, 140; Flies, 288; 

Gnats, 282; Goliath-beetle, 46; 

Larvge, 71; Lice, 317; Locusts, 

101-130; Mantis, 84-88; Soap 

from beetle, 23; Spiders, 354; 

Termites, 132-137. 
Agaric-Gnat, 286. 
Agestrata luconica, 49. 
Agrotis ielifera, 247. 
Ague, Bed-bugs as a remedy for, 

67; Dung-beetle, 44; Oil of 

Scorpions, 330; Spiders, 357- 

360; Stag-beetle, 26. 
Albugo, Cobwebs remedy for, 357. 
Ali Gamooni, forger of Scai-ab- 

gems, 38, n. 
Alopecia, Bees remedy for, 206. 
Altars ornamented with Chrysa- 

lids, 231. 
Amber, Ant inclosed in, 169 ; 

Bee, 212. 

America, Bees in, 197; Crickets, 
95; Fleas, 313; Gnats, 281; 
Lady-birds, 21; Lice, 318; 
Musk-beetle, 73; Spiders, 354. 

Amputation on account of Chi- 
goes, 315. 

Animals becoming plants, 90-92; 
Egyptian worship of, theory 
on, 43, n. 

Anobium peT^tinax, 61. 
striatum, 61. 
tesselatiim, 58-61. 

Anopleura, 316-320. 

Ant-hills, ovens made of, 134. 

Antipathy to Beetles, 74; Spiders, 

Antler-moth, 246. 

Ant-lions, 141. 

Ants, 146-170, 196, 295, 322, 327, 

Anus, prolapsed. Scarab remedy 
for, 44. 

Aphaniptera, 305-315. 

Aphidx, 2bl-2^^. 

Aphis humuli, 258. 

Apidse, 174-215. 

Apis centuncularis, 213. 

Apple-blossoms, May-bugs pro- 
duced with, 47. 

Apocalypse, symbolical Locusts 
of the, 123. 

Apollo, Locusts destroyed by, 

Aquitaine, bloody-rain in, 218. 

Arabia, beetle eaten by women 
of, 65; Silk-worms in, 239. 

Arachnida, 321-362. 

Araneidse, 332-362, 

Aranea diadema, 361. 




Aranea edulis, 354. 

obtextrix, 347. 
tarantula, 351. 

Arctiidx, 242-245. 

Arctia chrysorrhoea, 242. 

Armies routed by Mosquitoes, 

Armpits, Silk-worms hatched un- 
der, 240. 

Arms, Bees on coat of, 196 ; 
Butterfly, 229. 

Army-worm, 247. 

Arrows tipped with poison of an 
Ant, 161. 

Artificial flowers, beetles upon,23. 

Artillery employed against Ants, 
108; Locusts, 106. 

Ascarides in human stomach, 67. 

Asia, Honey-dew in, 257 ; Lo- 
custs, 103-130. 

Ass, dung of, for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326; Fleas do not bite, 
310; Hornets generated from 
carcass of, 171; Locusts, 101; 
Scarabs, 170; Scarab sup- 
posed to make its balls of the 
dung of, 28; Silk woven by 
an, 241 ; sting of Scorpions 
transferred to, 325 ; "Wasps 
generated from carcass of, 170. 

Assyria, Egyptian Scai"ab-gems 
among ruins of, 39-41. 

Assyrians, Locusts eaten by the, 

Astringent, Galls as an, 145. 

Astronomical subjects, Scarab 
connected with, 33, 37. 

Ateuchus JSgyptorum, 29. 
mcer, 29-43. 

Athenians, golden cicadas worn 
by, 251 ; Locusts eaten by, 

Athens, so-called Flies at, 291, n. 

Atrophy, Lice remedy for, 319. 

Auks, snow colored red by, 220, n. 

Australia, Butterflies in, 231 ; 
Flies, 288; larvae eaten in, 70. 

Automaton Flies, 294. 

Azores, Coccidx in, 264. 

Baalzebub worshiped under 
form of a Fly, 292. 

Back, Termite queens for 
strengthening the, 137. 

Baldness, Bees remedy for, 206; 
Flies, 295. 

Balm, antidote for poisons, 193; 
Bee-hives prepared with, 190. 

Banian Hospital for animals, 266. 

Banks, Sir Joshua, Spiders eaten 
by, 356. 

Barbados, Ants in, 167; Ash- 
colored Cricket, 92; Ash-color- 
ed Grasshopper, 98 ; Gnats, 
279 ; Grou-grou worm, 70 ; 
Lantern-flies, 256. 

Barbary, Locusts in, 105-130. 

Barley, Glow-worms indicate 
ripeness of, 58. 

Bashikouay-ants, 157, 158. 

Basilidians, abraxas invented by 
the, 37. 

Basill, the herb. Scorpions gene- 
rated from, 322. 

Basilisks, Scorpions generated 
from, 322. 

Battles of Ants, 151 ; Gnats, 278. 

Bats eaten in Cumana, 99 ; to 
drive away Locusts, 114. 

Beans for sting of Scorpions, 327. 

Bears, Ants eaten by, to purge, 
163; fat and blood of, to kill 
Caterpillars, 245 ; man saved 
by a, 196. 

Bed-bugs, 265-274, 306. 

Bedeguar, 144. 

Beds, to rid of Bugs, 266; Scor- 
pions to cool, 324. 

Bee-moth, 248. 

Bees, 174-215. 

Beggars hired as food for vermin, 
266; Lice eaten by, 318. 

Bell, Caterpillars cursed with a, 

Besiegers routed with Bees, 204 ; 
by Mosquitoes, 283. 

Beetle-headed, 49. 

Beetles, 17-75. 

Bermuda, Butterflies in, 227 ; 
Spiders, 354, 362. 

Berries, Cochineal supposed to 
be, 261. 

Bezoar-stone for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326. 



Bible, Ant in the, 148; Bees, 184; 
Flea, 813; Gnat, 285; Locusts, 
101, 128. 

Birds preserved to destroy Lo- 
custs, 114. 

Bishop Barnabee, Lady-bird so 
called, 19. 

Black-beetles, 78-82. 

Blacksmith-beetle, 55. 

BLapsidse, 65-68. 

Blaps morthaga, 65, 68, 78. 

Blatta Americana, 79. 
foitida, 78. 
orientaiis, 79. 
of the ancients, 78. 

Blattidx, 78-82. 

Bleeding of wounds, cobwebs to 
arrest, 357. 

Blind as a beetle, 49. 

Blindness, Death's-head Moth 
supposed to cause, 233. 

Blister-fiies, 62-64. 

Blood, "showers of, 216-225. 

Boars drowned in Honey, 211. 

Boils cured by Ants, 162. 

Bombicidse., 234.-241. 

Bombus, 213. 

Bomhyx Madroni, 239. 
mori, 234. 

Books perforated by beetles, 61. 

Bostrichidie, 61. 

Bostrichus typographus, 61. 

Botany, study of, from cabinet of 
insects, 369. 

Bot-flies, 302-304. 

Brain, Scorpionin a woman's, 322. 

Brandy flavored with Ants, 161. 

Brides in Holland, pupoe com- 
pared to, 232. 

Briers, May-bug grubs changed 
into, 48. 

Brazen Fly, game so called, 294. 

Brazil, Ants in, 160. 168; Blister- 
flies, 63; Diamond-beetles, 68; 
Gold-beetles, 23 ; Termites, 

Browny invoked in hiving Bees, 

Bruce and the Spider, 333. 

Bubo, pestilential. Oil-beetles for, 

Buenos Ayres, Flies in, 287. 

Buffalo, Locusts a cross between 

the and Spider, 113. 
Bug-bear, meaning of, 265. 
Bug-poison, vending of, in Lon- 
don, 268. 
Bull, fat of, in charm to destroy 

. Fleas, 308. 
Bullocks, Bees generated from, 

Burn-cows, 50-51. 
Burnie-bee, Lady-bird so called, 

Burning Spiders for amusement, 

Buprestidx, 50-51. 
Buprestis attenuata, 50. 

fascicular ius, 51. 
maxima, 50. 
oceilata, 50. 
vittata, 50. 
in Egypt, 29. 
of the ancients, 51. 
Butterflies, 216-232. 
Butter, Grou-grou worm made 
into, 69. 

Cabbage-tree worm, 68-70. 

Cactus cochinilifer, 261. 

Caffres make ovens of Ant-hills, 

Calandra palmarum, 27, 68-70. 
Calichroma alpina, 367. 
California, Mosquitoes in, 284. 
Callidryas alcmeone, 227. 
hilarise, 227. 
pyranthc, 221 . 
Cameleons, Meal-worms as food 

for, 65. 
Camels employed in stealing gold 

from Ants, 146. 
Canaan subdued with Hornets, 

Canary Islands, Locusts in, 104. 
Cancers,Cockroaches cure for, 78. 
Candle, why Moths fly in a, 242. 
Canker-worms, 248. 
Cams corsac supposed to be the 

fabled gold-loving Ant of India, 

Cannon employed against Fleas, 

Cantharidie, 62-64. 




Cantharides, 62-G4, 193. 

Cantharidine, 63. 

Cantharis vesicatoria, 62-64. 

Cantharis in head of mummy, 41. 

Cantharus of the ancients, 27. 

Caprification of figs, 144. 

Capua, burning of, foreshown by 
Ants, 173. 

Carabidse, 23. 

Carbuncle, Oil-beetle remedy for, 

Carahus chryaocephalus, 71. 

Carcasses, Bees tenanting, 194. 

Caravans, Bee-, 199. 

Carcinoma, Buprestis remedy for, 

Cardinals, Spiders so called, 342. 

Carli and the Ants, 156. 

Carpenter-bee, 213. 

Carriages drawn by Fleas, 312. 

Caribbean Islands, Bees in, 204; 
Cucujus in, 53. 

Catamenia, women with, Cater- 
pillars destroyed by, 244; Bu- 
prestis for, 51. 

Catarrh, Crickets remedy for, 96. 

Catch-' em-alive papers, sellers 
of, 296, 

Caterpillars, 158, n., 242-248. 

Cattle, Bees generated from car- 
casses of, 183 ; Daddy-Long- 
legs to find lost, 321 ; killed 
by Bees, 203 ; Mosquitoes, 283 ; 
sting of Sirex, 142; Spiders 
cure for poisoned, 360; warbles 
of, 303 ; whistle to call, made 
of beetle-shards, 369. 

Cats, Scarab-images with heads 
of, 36. 

Cayenne, Ants in, 162. 

Cedar, Spiders repelled by, 341. 

Centipedes as food, 365. 

Cerambycidse, 72-74. 

Ceramhyx moschatus, 73. 

Ceres, the Ant an attribute of, 

Cetoniidse, 49. 

Ceylon, Ants in, 1-58; Bees, 214; 
Black-ants, 157 ; British sol- 
diers tortured with Ants, 158; 
Buprestidse, 50 ; Butterflies, 
227; Gnats, 282; Oryctes rhi- 

noceros, 46; superstitions con- 
nected with insects, 46 ; Ter- 
mites, 135 ; Wood-carrying 
Moth, 245. 

Chained Fleas, 312. 

Chalk, Ants cannot pass over a 
line of, 169. 

Chapelain, anecdote of, 332. 

Charity, sugar given to Ants as 
an act of, 152. 

Charles XII., army of, impeded 
by Locusts, 106. 

Charm for Bots in horses, 302. 

Chelonitis used in raising tem- 
pests, 45. 

Chemical process to destroy Lo- 
custs, 116. 

Chestnut,Spiders repelled by , 341 . 

Chickens made to close Bee-hives 
against the Bee-moth, 249. 

Chigoes, 341. 

Chili, Gold-beetles in, 23. 

China, Aphis for dyeing in, 258; 
Blister-flies in, 63 ; Buprestidse, 
50; Butterflies, 229; Cicadas, 
253; Coprismolossus,44:; Grass- 
hoppers, 100 ; insect to discover 
unchastity, 367 ; to forward 
delivery, 368 ; Lantern-fly, 
256; Locusts, 112-130; Mantis, 
87 ; Silk-worms, 234-241 ; 
Smelling-bug, 266, 272; Soli- 
tary Wasp, 174. 

Chlxnius saponarius, 23. 

Chlorops Iseta, 287. 

Cholera, Flies die before breaking 
out of, 290. 

Christiana, Queen, Fleas can- 
nonaded by, 308. 

Chrysalids of Butterflies vene- 
rated, 230. 

Chyrsomelidx, 23. 

Chululahs, Spider in cosmogony 
of the, 342. 

Church-yard Beetles, 65-68. 

Cicada chinensis, 255. 

septemdecim, 253. 

Cieadidx, 250-255. 

Cicindela, larvae of, how cap- 
tured, 97. 

Cimez brassicse, 267. 
juniperinus, 267. 



Cimex lecturarius, 265-274. 

pratensis, 267. 
Cimicidx, 265-274. 
City abandoned on account of 

Ants, 169 ; depopulated by 

Bees, 204; of My as dispeopled 

by Fleas, 307 ; of Nisibis, siege 

of, raised by Mosquitoes, 288; 

of Tamly saved with Bees, 

Clay, Locusts made from, 118; 

of Ant-hills, uses of, 134. 
Clothes'-moth, 248. 
Clothes, suit of, foretold by 

Measuring-worm, 248. 
Clouds, Gossamer supposed to 

form, 349. 
Cobra-de-Capello and the Ants, 

Coccidse, 259-264. 
Cocci7ieUa septempunctata, 17-23. 
CoccinelUdx, 17-23. 
Coccus cacti, 260. 
ficus, 263. 
Hesperidum, 264. 
ilicis, 259. 
lacca, 263. 
polonicus, 260. 
uvx-ursi, 260. 
Cochineal, 260, 317, n. 
Cock, brains of, for bite of 

Spider, 356. 
Cock-chafers, 47—49. 
Cockroaches, 78-82. 
Coffee-bug, 158. 
Coffin, Bees alighting on, 188; 

clothes laid on, to keep away 

Moths, 249. 
Coffin-cutter, the, of the Irish, 

Coins, Bees on, 194; Scarab- 
gems supposed to be, 36. 
Cold in horses. Hornets' nest for, 

Coleoptera, 17-75. 
Colias edusa, 227. 
Colic, Lady-birds remedy for, 

21 ; Scorpions, 329. 
Comet, Locusts sent by, 113; 

omens from, 246. 
Commerce, Crickets as an article 

of, 95; Mantis, 92. 

Communication between Ants, 

Conception, Spiders to prevent, 

Conjuror of Bees, 201. 

Conradus, Bishop, Spider drank 
in wine by, 356. 

Consumption, Honey-dew for, 

Continental money, Bees on, 197. 

Convulsions, Silk-worms for, 240. 

Coprion of the ancients, 27. 

Copris molossus, 44. 
sabseus, 41. 
in Egypt, 29. 

Coral for sting of Scorpions, 326. 

Corixa femoraia, 276, 
mercenaria, 276. 

Corn, Indian mode of destroying 
Caterpillars injurious to, 244; 
Stag-beetle supposed to injure, 
25; stored by Ants, 148-150. 

Correspondence by means of 
Cucuji, 53. 

Cortes, army of, saved from at- 
tack by Cucuji, 53. 

Cosmogonies, Spiders in various, 

Cossiis of the ancients, 27, 74. 

Counterfeiting Scarab-gems, 
38, n. 

Country depopulated by Spiders 
and Scorpions, 353. 

Courtezans, Cantharides em- 
ployed by, 62. 

Corynetes violaceous, 41. 

Cow, in names of Lady-bird, 17; 
killed by Ants, 156; bewitched 
by killing Ants, 152 ; Scarab 
figured with head of, 35. 

Crabley, Mrs. Jane, stiffness in 
knees of, cured by Ants, 162. 

Crabs for sting of Scorpions, 326. 

Crane-flies, 286. 

Cray-fish, Scorpions generated 
from, 322. 

Creator, Scarab sacred to, 30 ; 
symbol of, 29. 

Creoles not attacked by Chigoes, 

Crete, Galls eaten in, 145. 

Crickets, 92-97. 



Crimea, Gnats in, 282; Locusts, 

Criminals tortured with Ants, 
158; Flies, 296; Mosquitoes, 
Crimson, Galls for dyeing, 258; 

Cochineal, 259. 
Crocodile, Scorpions generated 
from carcass of, 323 ; Wasps, 
171 ; Scorpions enemies to, 
324 ; worship of, in Egypt, 
43, n. 
Crow, dung of, for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326. 
Cuckoo to prevent breeding of 

Fleas, 307. 
Cucujus, 51, 
Cidez pipiens, 278. 
Culicidx, 278-286. 
Cumana, Grasshoppers eaten in, 

Curculionidse, 68-72. 
Gurculio anti-odontalgicus, 71. 
Bacchus, 71. 
jsecac, 71. 
in a plum, 76. 
Cut-worm, 246. 
Cynipidse, 143-145. 
Cynips ficus caricse, 144. 

ffallx tinctorum, 144. 
fflecome, 144. 
insana, 145. 
psenes, 144. 
rosse, 144. 

Daddy-Long-legs, 321. 

Dance, Hottentot Bee-, 211. 

Dank food, Bots generated from, 

Day-flies, 138. 

Dead, Leather-beetles buried 
with the, 24 ; Scarab-images, 

Dead Sea fruits, 145. 

Deafness, Ants remedy for, 161; 
Ear-wigs, 76, 

Death, Bees informed of a, 185- 
188; omens of, from Bees, 181, 
185; Black-beetle, 82; Butter- 
flies, 229; Caterpillars, 242; 
Church-yard beetle, 65; Crick- 

ets, 92-95; Death-watch, 58- 
61; Dragon-fly, 140; Glow- 
worm, 57 ; Hawk-moth, 232 ; 
Mantis, 83 ; Spiders, 340. 

Death's-head Moth, 232. 

Death-watch, 58-61, 93. 

Debility, Termites remedy for, 

Decticus verrucivorus, 100. 

Deer killed by Ants, 157; their 
antidote for poisons, 353 ; 
Wasps generated from the head 
of, 171. 

Dejeau, Genl. Count, anecdote 
of, 368. 

Democritis, fondess of, for Honey, 

Denmark, Dung-beetle in, 28. 

Dermesles elongatus, 24, 41. 
pollinctus, 24, 41. 
roei, 24, 41. 
vulpinus, 24, 41. 

Dermestidse, 24. 

Devil, Fleas attributed to the 
envy of the, 311; in the shape 
of a Flea, 310; Fly, 293. 

Dew, scorched, Gossamer sup- 
posed to be, 348. 

Diamond-beetles, 23, 68. 

Diaphoretic, Bees as, 206. 

Diarrhoea, Rose gall for, 144. 

Digger Indians, Grasshoppers 
eaten by. 99. 

Diptera, 278-304. 

Disease, foretold by Gnats, 280. 

Disjonval and his Spiders, 336. 

Distemper in horses, Hornets'nest 
for, 172. 

Diuretic, Bees as, 206. 

Dog, fat of, to destroy Nits, 320; 
Fleas generated from humors 
on, 305; foiled with Bees, 201 ; 
Scarab-images with heads of, 

Domitian, anecdote of, 332. 

Dragon-flies, 138-140. 

Dragon of St. George, Flies gen- 
erated from, 304. 

Dreams, signification of, of Ants 
and Bees, 152; Flies, 289; Lo- 
custs, 119; insects in general 
in Siam, 370. 



Dr. Ellison, Lady-bird so called, 

Drink, Honey- dew as a, 257. 
Dropsy, Cantharides for, 63. 
Drouth foretold by Grasshoppers, 

Du Chaillu runs from Ants to 

save his life, 157. 
Dufour, Mrs. A. L. R., verses by, 

131, 243. 
Dung-beetles, 27-45. 
'♦Duo," the pronouncing of, to 

prevent Scorpions stinging,325. 
Dust, Fleas generated from, 305. 
Dwarfs, Gossamer woven by, 349. 
Dyeing, Cochineal used in, 260; 

Galls used in, 145. 
Dynastes Goliathus, 46, 47. 

Hercules, 45-47. 
Dynastldse, 45-47. 
Dysentery, bedeguar for, 144. 
Dysury, Gi'asshoppers for, 100. 

Eagle, Beetle's revenge upon, 45. 

Ear, Beetle in the, of Capt. Speke, 
79, n. ; Cockroach in the, of a 
Swede, 79; Blatta of Pliny for 
diseases of the, 66; Bugs, 267; 
Cockroaches, 78; Crickets, 97; 
Spiders, 357 ; Stag-beetles, 26 ; 
worms extracted from chil- 
dren's, 371. 

Ear-wigs, 76, 77. 

East Indies, Locusts in, 112, 113; 
Termites, 137. 

Egypt, Beetles eaten by the wo- 
men in, 65; buried with the 
dead, 24; bloody- waters, 223, 
n. ; Buprestis, 29 ; Copris, 29 ; 
Cicadas, 253 ; frontiers of, made 
known from inscriptions on 
Scarabaei, 35; Gnats in, 282; 
insects embalmed in, 41 ; Lo- 
custs in, 101, 113; Scarab 
worshiped, 29-42; Scorpions 
in, 328. 

Egyptian pottery. Flies on, 292; 
worship of animals, 
theory on, 43, n. 

Elateridse, 51-55. 

Elaier noctilucus, 51-55, 255. 

Elephant named Lucas, 24; put 
to flight by Ants, 157. 

Elf-shot, cattle said to be, 308. 

Elizabeth, Queen, silk stockings 
worn by, 238. 

Eloquence foretold by Bees, 178. 

Embalmed, i?«/?re5^/5, 30; House- 
fly, 41; Scarab, 41. 

Embalming, Honey used for, 208. 

Embroidered, Spiders, on ladies' 
dresses, 354. 

Emerald, Beetle engraven on, 
against witchcraft, 44. 

Emmets, 146-170. 

Emperor of China and the Locusts, 

Enchantment, counter-charm for, 

Encouragement taken from an 
Ant, 154; Spider, 333. 

Enemies represented by a Scor- 
pion and a Crocodile fighting, 
324; sign of, from dreams of 
Flies, 289. 

England, Aphides in, 258; Bed- 
bugs, 265, 299; beetles buried 
with the dead, 24; Bees, 181- 
184; bloody-rain, 217; Bupres- 
tidse, 50; Caterpillars, 242; 
Crickets, 92-94; Death's-head 
Moth, 233; Fleas, 314; Flies, 
287; Gnats, 278; hedge-hogs 
kept to kill roaches, 78; Lady- 
birds in, 17-23; Locusts, 107; 
silk and silk-worms, 238; Spi- 
ders, 336; Stag-beetles, 25. 

Engravers, Scarab used by, to 
steady their sight, 44. 

Enormous prices paid for insects, 
46, 64. 

Equator, Lice leave sailors when 
crossing, 817. 

Epeira clavipes, 362. 

Ephemeridx, 138, 

Epigram compared to a Scorpion, 
331 ; on an Ant, 169 ; Bee, 212 ; 
Silk-worm, 241. 

Epilepsy, laxwae of Bots for, 302. 

Epitaph, cure for worms, on ac- 
count of an, 363. 

Erinaceus Europseus, 78. 

Eruca officinalis, 245. 



•Esteem for Ant-lions, 141. 

Etruscans, Egyptian Scarab 
adopted by, 39. 

Etymology of Cricket, 97 ; Locust, 
130; Ptdex, 305. 

Eucharist, holy, respect of Bees 
for, 174-177. 

Eumeta, 245. 

Eumolpus auratus, 23. 

Eunota amphyoxis, 224. 

Euplezoptera, 61-77. 

Euplcea coras, 228. 
protlwe, 228. 

Europe, Antler-moth in, 240 ; Bee- 
caravans, 199; Deaths' -head 
moth, 233; Dragon-flies, 139; 
insect ornaments, 44; Locusts 
in, 102-130; Mantis, 83; Silk- 
worms, 235 ; Termites,132-137; 
trade in insects, 360. 

Eutimis nobilis, 68. 

Evil eye, silk-worms susceptible 
to, 239. 

Exorcised, Ants, 169; Locusts, 
1115; Turnip-fly, 74. 

Eyes, cobwebs for defluxions of, 
356; green Scarab for, 44; 
Honey in preparation for, 209; 
oil of Scorpions for, 330; Sca- 
rab for protuberating, 44. 

Eynchitus aureus, 71. 

Fairies, Ants supposed to be, 
152; Gossamer spun by, 349. 

Famine foretold by Grasshop- 
pers, 100; maggot, 143; Man- 
tis, 83, 

Farriers, Cantharides employed 
by, 64. 

Fat, beetle eaten by women to be- 
come, 65. 

Fecundity, Scarab symbolical of, 
33; eaten to cause, 33. 

Fever, Bugs medicine for, 367; 
Honey-dew, 257; Spiders, 357, 
359; sign of, from dreams of 
Flies, 289. 

Fever, man dead from, Scarab 
symbol of, 33. 

Figs, caprification of, 144; for 
sting of scorpions, 326. 

Fighting, beetles kept for, 368; 
Mantis, 87. 

Fire, alarms of, occasioned by 
Gnats, 278. 

Fire-jiies, 51-55. 

Fires occasioned by Stag-beetles, 
25; Scorpion surrounded with, 
328; to destroy Canker-worms, 

Fish killed by a Spider, 846; 
Locusts hatched from spawn, 
118; for sting of Scorpions, 
326; spawn of, sold for eggs 
of silk-worms, 241. 

Flata limbata, 254. 

Flatterers compared to Flies, 291. 

Fleas, 266, 273, 135, 305-315. 

Fleur de lis, origin of, on arms of 
France, 196. 

Flies, 287-301, 306, 324. 

Flight, extent of the Bee's, 200; 
Locusfs, 129. 

Floors made from clay of Ant- 
hills, 134. 

Flora, Ants' remedy for, 161, 

Flour, Bees steal, from a mill, 191. 

Flying-bulls, 25. 

Food, Ants as, 159-161; Bees, 
204; Buprestis, 51; Butterflies, 
231; Caterpillars, 372; Cica- 

das, 254; Cossi, 

Copris 7)10- 

lossus, 44; Field-crickets, 96: 
Flies, 295; Galls, 145; Goliath- 
beetle, 46; Grasshoppers, 98, 
99; Grou-grou worm, 69, 70; 
Honey, 208-211 ; Lice, 99, 317; 
Locusts, 98, 120-127; May- 
bug, 49 ; Notonectidse, 275 ; Oryc- 
tes rhinoceros, 46 ; Prionus da- 
micornis, 73 ; Scolopendras and 
Centipedes, 365; Scorpions, 
329; Silk-worms, 240; Spiders, 
354-356; Termites, 135-137. 
ForficuUdse, 76, 77. 
Forger of Scarab-gems, 38, n. 
Formic acid, 161. 
Formica bispinosa, 162. 

major, 161. 

minor, 161, 

omnivora, 166. 

rufa; 159. 

smaraydina, 157, 158. 



Formicidse, 146-170, 

Fortune, good, presaged hy Acan- 
thocinus sedilis, 73. 

Fox, how it rids itself of Fleas, 
309; how it kills Wasps for 
their combs, 174. 

Fractures, cobwebs for, 357. 

France, bloody-rain in, 218; 
Crickets, 97; Cynips glecome, 
145; Death's-head Moth, 233; 
Lady-bird, 17; Locusts, 103- 
130; Mantis, 83; shower of 
insects, 365; Termites in, 132. 

Frankfort, massacre of the Jews 
at, 218. 

Franklin and the Ants, 155. 

Freak of nature: five -winged 
Butterfly, 230. 

Frogs killed with hot charcoal, 
55; foot in chalk, to keep away 
witches, 247; for sting of 
Scorpions, 327. 

Fruit, wasps generated from rot- 
ten, 171, 184. 

Fulgora candelaria, 256. 
lanternaria, 255. 

Fulgoridx, 255-256. 

Funereal rites, Scarab connected 
with, 33, 36. 

Funerals, Bees invited to, 187. 

Gad-fly, 291. 

Gallerucidpe, 74. 

Galleria cereana, 249. 

Gall-flies, 143-145. 

Galls, 143-145. 

Gambaia, Lice in, 317. 

Garlic, to keep away Scorpions, 

Gasterophilus hsemorrhoidalis, 302. 

Generation of Fleas, 305; Flies, 
290; Gnats, 278; Scorpions, 
321; Spiders, 362; Wasps, 171, 

Geography, study of, from cabi- 
net of insects, 369. 

Geometridx, 248. 

Geotrupes stercorarius, 28, 44. 

Germany, Agaric-Gnat in, 286; 
Ants, 159; Blister-flies, 63; 
bloody-rain, 218; Butterflies, 
225 ; Canker-worms,248 ; Crick- 

ets, 96; Gall-flies, 143; Lady- 
bird, 17; Stag-beetle, 25;. Ty- 
pographer-beetle, 61. 

Ghosts, Glow-worms supposed to 
be, 56. 

Gilded-Dandy, 23. 

Gleanthus and the Ants, 154. 

Glow-worms, 55-58, 339. 

Gnats, 52, 194, 278-286. 

Goat, blood of, to destroy Fleas, 
308; fat of, for sting of Scor- 
pions, 325 ; gall of, in medicine, 
210; liver of, to drive away 
Moths, 243; maggots in the 
brain of, 302. 

Gods, earthen, made of clay of 
Ant-hills, 135. 

Gold-beetles, 23. 

Golden-Bees in tomb of Childeric, 
Fleece, search after the, 

Gold obtained from Ants in In- 
dia, 146. 

Goldsmiths, clay of Ant-hills used 
by, 135. 

Good foretold by Ants, 152. 

Friday, Bees removed on, 

Goose-quill, Spider in, for Ague, 

Gorilla put to rout by Ants, 157. 

Gossamer, 347. 

Gout, Ants remedy for, 162; Oil- 
beetles, 63; Spiders, 359. 

Granada, Ants in, 167. 

Grasshoppers, 98-100, 251. 

Gray, characteristics of Linnoean 
orders of insects, turned into 
hexameters by, 363. 

Greece, silk-worms in, 237. 

Greek, study of, from names of 
insects, 369.. 

Greeks, Ants in divination by, 
152; Bees, 178; Buprestis as 
food by, 51; Egyptian Scarab 
adopted by, 39; estimation of, 
for Cicadas, 250; Grasshoppers 
eaten by, 98; knowledge of silk, 
235 ; larvse eaten by, 27 ; Man- 
tis in soothsaying by, 83. 

Grou-grou worm, 68-70. 



GrylUdx, 98-100. 

Gryljotalpa vulgaris, 57, n. 

Gryllus jEgypticus, 126. 
domesticus, 97. 

Guiana, Ants in, 168; Bees, 205; 
Black-ants, 156; Canthar is max- 
ima, 64; Lantern-flies, 256. 

Guinea, Spiders in, 342. 

Gustavus Adolphus' aversion for 
Spiders, 344. 

Gyre-carlin, Louse in rhyme of 
tlie, 320. 

HEMORRHOIDS, Dung-beetle for, 

Happiness of Cicadas, 251. 

Hair, Cicadas ornaments for the, 
251; insects, 57; on children's 
cheeks. Ants to remove, 161. 

Haltica oleracea, 74. 
nemorum, 74. 

Hampton Court, Spiders at, 342. 

Harvest, augury as to, from 
Dung-beetle, 28. 

JIarvest-flies, 250-255. . 

Harvest-man, 321. 

Hare, feet of, to drive away Bugs, 
266; urine of, in a prescrip- 
tion, 76. 

Harp, Cicada emblem of, 252. 

Harts, their antidote for poison, 

Hawking with Butterflies, 230. 

Hawk, Scarab figured with head 
of, 34. 

Ilaiok-moths, 232-234. 

Headache, Scarab on an emerald 
for, 45. 

Head-dresses, Butterflies on, 230. 

Heart, worm in the, of a horse, 

Hedge-hog kept to kill Roaches, 

Helio canthar us of the ancients, 27. 

Heliogabalus estimates popula- 
tion of Rome from collection 
of Spiders, 334. 

Hemorrhages, Ants for, 162 ; 
Galls, 145. 

Hen, dung of, for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326 ; moisture from 
mouth of, for same, 327. 

Hercules-beetle, 45-47. 

Hercules, god of the Flies, 292. 

Heteroptera, 265-277. 

Hieroglyphics, Cicadas as, 253; 
Scarab, 35, 37, 43, n. 

Hispaniola ravaged by Ants, 

History, study of, from cabinet 
of insects, 369. 

Hiving Bees, curious practice at, 

Hoax: bloody-rain in Tennessee, 

Holy men, Lice nourished by, 

Holy water, Caterpillars destroy- 
ed with, 243; Locusts, 116. 

Homoptera, 250-264. 

Honey, 208-211. 

Honey-dew, 257. 

Hops, Aphides and Lady-birds 
killed on, 21 ; injury to, from 
Hop-fly, 258. 

Hornets, 170-174, 194. 

Horns of Scarabaei in medicine, 

Horse-hair, Gnats destroyed by, 

Horse-leeches eaten in Cumana, 

Horses, Bots in, 303 ; dung of, 
for sting of Scorpions, 326 ; 
diseases of. Hornets' nest for, 
172 ; in descriptions of Locusts, 
118; Hornets generated from 
carcass of, 171, 184; Wasps, 

Hottentots, Bee-dance of, 211 ; 
make floors of clay of Ant- 
hills, 135; origin of Locusts, 
123; worship of Mantis, 84-88. 

House-fly, 41, 287-301. 

House-leek for sting of Scorpions, 

Humhle-hees, 213. 

Hundred hives of Bees, cannot 
have, 188. 

Hungary, Fleas in, 308; poison- 
ous Fly, 303; shower of insects, 

Hydrophobia, Oil-beetles for, 63. 

Ilymcnoptera, 142-215. 



Hymn, singing of, wlien hiving 

Bees, 190. 
Hysteria, Bed-bugs for, 267. 

Ibis in Egypt, 43, n. 

Iceland, bloody-rain in, 218. 

Ideographic, Scarab as an, 35. 

Ignatius, Lice nourished by, 317. 

Illness, omen of, from Black- 
beetle, 82; Grasshopper, 98. 

Incantations, Locusts destroyed 
by, 116. 

Incontinence detected by Bees, 

India, Ants in, 152; Blister-flies, 
63 ; Buprestidse, 50 ; Dung- 
beetle, 29 ; fabled gold-loving 
Ants of, 146 ; Fire-flies in, 57 ; 
larva of beetle eaten in, 70; 
Mantis in, 83; Silk- worms, 
235; Spiders, 342; Termites, 

Indians, American, Butterfly 
totem of, 229; Caterpillars de- 
stroyed by, 244 ; Cicadas eaten, 
254 ; Cut-worms destroyed, 
247 ; Grasshoppers eaten, 99 ; 
name for Bees, 197. 

Ingenuity of Ants, 154. 

Ink, Galls in manufacture of, 145. 

Inquisitive persons compared to 
Flies, 291. 

Ireland, Bees in, 181 ; Coffin- 
cutter, 368; Gnats, 281; May- 
bugs, 48; Spiders, 368. 

Irish oak, Spiders repelled by, 

Isis, respect of Scorpions for, 
328; Scarab figured with the 
head of, 34. 

Italy, Blister-flies in, 63; Glow- 
worms, 57 ; Gnats, 281 ; Lo- 
custs, 102-130; Scorpions, 
324; Silk- worms, 237. 

Ivory, Ants carved out of, 170. 

Jack-'o-lanteens, Glow-worms 
supposed to be, 57 ; Mole- 
crickets, 67. 

James I., anecdote of, 239. 

Jamaica, Cantharis maxima, in, 
64; Cockroaches, 78; Crickets, 
96; Dragon-flies, 140; frogs, 
66; Gnats, 282. 

Japan, Grasshoppers in, 100; 
Moths and Night-flies, 242. 

Jaundice. Blatta of Pliny for, 67; 
Lice, 319; Oilof Scorpions, 330. 

Java, larvce of beetle eaten in, 
70; Mantis in, 87. 

Jays preserved to kill Locusts, 

Jerusalem saved by Locusts, 119. 

Jews, Locusts eaten by, 101 ; as 
playthings for children, 130; 
massacred on account of 
bloody-rain, 218; not permit- 
ted to burn Fleas, 311. 

Jiggers, 314. 

Julian the Apostate, army of, 
routed by Mosquitoes, 282. 

July, swarm of Bees in, 192. 

June, swarm of Bees in, 192. 

Jupiter in the form of an Ant, 

Katy-did, 131. 

Kermes-dye, 259. 

Killing Bees for their Honey, 190. 

King Calowa, Lady-bird called, 

King-fisher to keep away Clothes'- 

moth, 249. 
King of the Fleas, 307; Locusts, 

King's evil, Blatta of Pliny for, 

Knife-grinder, Hercules-beetle 

called the, 46. 
Koran, the Ant of the, 153. 
Kuflfelar's color, origin of, 262. 

Labor, Flies driven away from 
women in, 292 ; insect to re- 
lieve, 368. 

Lac, -dye, -lake, 262. 

Lady-birds, 17-23. 

La Lande, Spiders eaten by, 355. 

Lamp, Cucuji used as, 54. 

Lampyridse, 55-58. 

Lantern-flies, 255-6. 




Laock, Cockroach in the ear of, 

Lapland, Acantlwcinus sedilis in, 
73; Crane-flies, 286. 

Lard, Fleas kept away with, 308, 

Latin, study of, from names of 
insects, 369. 

Lauzun and his pet Spider, 336. 

Law, Mosquitoes to execute the, 

Lawsuit betAveen Commune of 
St. Julien and an Insect, 71. 

Leather-beetles, 24. 

Leather, Galls in manufacture of, 

Leaf becoming a Butterfly, 230. 

Leeches, Bed-bugs to remove or 
kill, 267. 

Lecanium coffea, 158. 

Legends connected with Bees, 
174-180; Katy-did, 131. 

Lemurs kept to kill Roaches, 78. 

Lentigo, Ants remedy for, 161. 

Lepaute, Madame, Spiders eaten 
by, 355. 

Lepidoptera, 216-249. 

Leprosy, Ants for, 161; Bupres- 
tis, 51; Cantharides, 63; 3Iy- 
loecon of Pliny, 66. 

Lethargy, Bed-bugs for, 268. 

Letters on wings of Locusts, 119. 

Lettuce-seed for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326. 

Leucania unipunctata, 247. 

Levant, Aphis for dyeing in, 258. 

Libellula depressa, 139. 

quadrimaculata, 139. 

Libelhdidse, 138-140. 

Lice, 266, 306, 308, 316-320. 

Lichen, Jiuprestis for, 51 ; Cantha- 
rides, 63. 

Lierman, 254. 

Light from Cucuji, 51-3; per- 
petual, from Glow-worms, 56; 
of the Lantern-fly, 255. 

Linnaeus and the genus Pausus, 

Lion, Bees from carcass of, slain 
by Samson, 194; driven mad 
by IMosquitoes, 284 ; fat of, to 
drive away Flies, 289; put to 
flight by Scorpions, 324; Sca- 

rab-images with head of, 36 ; 

skin of, to destroy Clothes'- 

moth, 249. 
Lithuania, Bees in, 186. 
Lizard for sting of Scorpions, 326. 
Locusta migratoria, 101-131. 

tartarica, 117. 
Locustidse, 101-131. 
Locusts, 101-131, 326. 
Loke in the form of a Fly, 294. 
London, vending of Bug-poison 

in, 268; Fly-papers, 296; Phos- 
phor Paste for killing Roaches, 

etc., 80-82. 
Love divination, Lady-bird in, 

19-20; Mantis, 89. 
Lover, approach of, foretold by 

Crickets, 93. 
Lucanidre, 24-27. 
Lucanus cervus, 24-27. 

etymology of, 24. 
Luck, omens of, from Bees, 185; 

Crickets, 93-94; Spiders, 339. 
Lump-lac, 263. 
Lunacy, Scorpion for, 330. 
Lupines to drive away Locusts, 

Lutfullah and the Scorpion, 329; 

Termites, 134. 
Lygseus liyoscami, 267. 

Madagascar, Silk-worms eaten 

in, 240. 
Mad-dogs, Honey for bite of, 

208; Oil-beetles, 68. 
Magical knots, nests of Carpen- 
ter-bee supposed to be, 213. 
Magicians, Ants used by, 162 ; 

beetle, 45. 
Magistrate chosen by a Louse, 

Malabar, Ants in, 152; Lice, 317; 

Termites, 133. 
Maladies of Ants, 164. 
3Iala Sodomitica, 145. 
Man, first formed by a Spider, 

342 ; Scarab figured with the 

head of, 34. 
Mandrake, bears poisoned with, 

how cured, 163. 
Manilla, Rose-chafers kept as 

pets in, 50. 



Mantes, 82-92, 157. 

Ma7itidx, 82-92. 

Mantis causta, 84. 

oratoria, 82-92. 
siccifolia, 92. 

Manure, Day-flies used as, 138. 

Maryland, Black-beetle in, 82; 
Blacksmith-beetle, 55; Butter- 
fly, 229; Caterpillars, 242; 
Crickets, 95; Glow-worm, 57; 
Grasshoppers, 100 ; Katy-did, 

Marriage-feast, Bees invited to, 

Mass, Locusts in celebration of, 

Matchlocks, Cucuji mistaken for, 
53, 54. 

Mauritius, Wasps eaten in, 174. 

May-bugs, 47-49. 

May, swarm of Bees in, 192. 

3Ieal-worms, 65. 

Measles, Lady-bird for the, 21. 

Measuring-worms, 248. 

Medicated earth from Ants'- 
nests, 162. 

Medicine, Ants in, 161-163; Bed- 
bugs, 266-268; Bees, 206; 
Blaps sulcata, 65 ; Blatta of 
Pliny, 65-66 ; Buprestidx, 51 ; 
Cantharides, 62-64; Caterpil- 
lars, 245; Cochineal, 262; 
Crickets, 97 ; Curculios, 71 ; 
Ear-wigs, 76 ; Fleas, 311 ; Flies, 
295; Gall-flies, 145; Glow- 
worm, 57; Grasshoppers, 100; 
Honey, 208; Honey-dew, 257; 
Hornets' nest, 172; Lady-bird, 
21; Lice, 319; Locusts, 130; 
Musk-beetles, 73; Oil-beetles, 
62; Scarabs, 44; Scorpions, 
329; Silk-worms, 240; Spiders, 
357-360; Stag-beetle, 26; Wax, 
206, 254. 

Mediterranean, Flies in the, 287. 

Meloe, 63. 

Melolontha vulgaris, 42, 47. 

Melolonthidx, 47-49. 

Men killed by sting of Sirex, 142. 

Menstruous women, Caterpillars 
destroyed by, 244; stung by 
Bees, 182. 

Mercury, Scarab emblematical 
of, 32. 

Merian, Madame, her account of 
the Lantern fly, 255. 

Metempsychosis under form of in- 
sects, 246. 

Mexico, Ants in, 157, 159; Cochi- 
neal, 261 ; Cucujus, 53-54 ; 
Lice, 316, 318; silk from a 
Bomhyx, 239 ; Water-boatmen, 

Mice for sting of Scorpions, 326 ; 
generation of, 322. 

Micrometer, Spider's web for di- 
visions of, 362. 

Midas, riches of, foretold by 
Ants, 151. 

3fidas in head of mummy, 41. 

Migrations of Aphides, 258; Bees, 
199; Butterflies, 225; Dragon- 
flies, 139-140; Lady-birds, 21. 

Milk, association of Butterflies 
with, 231. 

Millet, time to sow, indicated by 
Glow-worms, 58, 

Milton's fondness for Crickets, 95. 

Mississippi, the Gallinipper of 
the, 285. 

Missouri, Fleas in, S07. 

Mites, 320-321. 

Mob dispersed with Bees, 204. 

Mocking-birds, Spiders fed to, 

Mohammed, anecdote of, 209; 
life of, saved by Spiders, 333. 

Mole-cricket, 57. 

Manas prodigiosa, 222. 

Money-spinners, 339. 

Money eaten by Termites, 132. 

Monkeys kept to kill Roaches, 
78; singular use of an, 156; 
Spiders fed to, 357. 

Monk, life of, saved by a Spider, 
341 ; poisoned Avith a Spider, 

Month, Scarab symbol of an 
Egyptian, 33. 

Moon, beds to be cleaned in dark 
of, 266; horns of Stag-beetles 
dedicated to, 26; Scarab sym- 
bol of, 31 ; subject to, 32 ; 
swarms of Locusts from, 118. 



Moorish ladies frightened by 
Glow-worms, 56. 

Morea, etymology of, 237. 

Mormons, Locusts among the, 

Morocco, Locusts in, 107-130. 

Morns alba, 237. 

Moscow, mulct laid upon, for not 
catching Fleas, 311. 

Mosquitoes, 19G, 278-286. 

Mourning, Bees put into, 186. 

Mule, Hornets generated from 
carcass of, 171; Locusts, 101. 

Mummy, insects in head of, 41 ; 
for sting of Scorpions, 326. 

Musca dovicsiica, 287-301. 

Musidse, 287-301. 

Mushrooms, Honey antidote for 
poisonous, 208. 

Music, efiect of, on persons bit- 
ten by Tarantulas, 351 ; on 
Spiders, 334; of Cicadas, 252. 

Musicians, Cicadas symbols of, 

Musk-heetles, 72-74. 

Mustard to destroy Locusts, 114. 

Myas dispeopled by Fleas, 307. 

Mycetophila, 286. 

Myiodes, the god of Flies, 292. 

Mylabris cichorii, 63. 
pustulata, 63. 

Myrmeleonidx, 141. 

Myrmidons, the, 150. 

Nakvaez prevented from at- 
tacking Cortes by Cucuji, 53. 

Necrobia mumiarum, 41. 

Negroes run for their lives from 
Ants, 157. 

Nerves, Oil of Ear-wigs for 
strengthening, 76. 

Netherlands, Lady-bird in, 20; 
Spiders, 340. 

Nets, Mosquitoes kept away with, 

New England, Cut-worm in, 
247; Humble-bees, 213. 

New Granada, Ants in, 160. 

Newt for sting of Scorpions, 326. 

New York, Butterflies in, 229. 

Neuroptera, 132-141. 

Night-fly of Japan, 242. 

Nightingales, pupae of Ants food 

for, 159. 
Nile, Bee-hive barges on the, 

Nits, 320. 
Noah and the origin of Vermin, 

306; Wood-tic pinned by, 321. 
Noctiluca terrestris, 57. 
Noctua graminis, 246. 
Noctuidx, 246-248. 
Noise made by flights of Locusts, 

North Carolina, Spiders for ague 

in, 359. 
Notonecta unifasciata, 276. 
Notonectidse, ^Ib-^ll. 
Nun, antipathy of an, to a beetle, 

74 ; frightened by a Hawk- 
moth, 233. 
Nut-galls of commerce, 144-145. 
Nut-shell, Spider in, for ague, 

Nuts for sting of Scorpions, 326. 

Oak-balls, superstition connect- 
ed with, 143. 

(Edi-poda corallipes, 112. 

(Estridx, 302-304. 

CEstriis equi, 302. 
ovis, 302. 

Ohio, Bed-bugs for ague in, 268. 

Oiketicus, 245. 

Oil-beetles, 63. 

Old folks, Crickets supposed to 
be, 95. 

Ophthalmia, Fly in linen for, 

Orange-trees injured by Coccidse, 

Orators compared to Cicadas, 252. 

Ornaments, Blister-flies as, 64; 
Butterflies, 229 ; Buprestidx, 
50; Cicadas, 251; Cucujus, 54; 
Diamond-beetle, 68; Fire-flies, 
57 ; Geotrupes stercorarius, 44 ; 
Glow-worms, 57; Gold-beetles, 
28; Lady-bird, 21; Scarabs, 
38; Spiders, 354. 

Orthoptera, 78-131. 

Oryctes rhinoceros, 46. 

Ovens, Ant-hills made into, 134; 
Crickets reared in, 96. 



Owlet antidote for sting of Bees, 

Oxford, bringing in the Fly at, 


Painted, Flies on vessels newly, 

Palm-tree, generation of the, 322 
Palm-weevil, 68-70. 
Palpitations, wax to prevent, 254. 
Palsy, Ants remedy for, 162. 
Pans, beating of, when Bees 

swarm, 189. 
Paper, manufacture of, from silk, 

Faplionidse, 216-232. 
Paradise, Solomon's Ant in, 153. 
Paraguay, Spiders in, 362. 
Parasol, swarm of Bees on a 

lady's, 214. 
Paris, Cucujus in, 53. 
Park, Mungo, attacked by Bees, 

Paniassius Apollo, 367. 
Paroxysms, Spiders for, 358. 
Parthians, Locusts eaten by, 121. 
Passalus cornutus, 27. 
Paul, Prince, anecdote of, 369. 
Pausidse, 23-24. 

Peace foretold by Locusts, 119. 
PedicuUdx, 316-320. 
Pediculi corporis, 317. 
Pedipalpi, 321-331. 
Peiresc's solution of bloody-rain, 

Pelisson and his pet Spider, 335. 
Pennsylvania, Bees in, 182, 188; 

Butterflies, 229. 
Persia, Aphis in, 258; Scorpions, 

328; Silk- worms, 235. 
Peruvians, Flies offered to the 

Sun by, 292. 
Pestilence foretold by Spiders, 

Petrified Bee-hive, 214. 
Pets, beetles as, 50; Mantis, 88- 

90; Spiders, 235. 
Pewter for sting of Scorpions, 326. 
Phaerus, Spiders eaten by, 355. 
Phaeton's sisters, origin of fable 

of, 91, n. 
Phalangidx, 321. 

Phalangium, 321 . 

Philology, study of, from names 

of insects, 369. 
Phonetic, Scarab as a. 35. 
Phosphor Paste for killing 
Roaches, etc., manufacture and 
vending of, 80-82. 
Phthiriasis, 121, 320. 
Phthisic, Honey-dew for, 257. 
Physicians, Pliny's invective 

against, 67. 
Piety of Bees, 174-177. 
Pigeon for sting of Scorpions, 326; 
Mohammed's life saved by, 333. 
Pig-manure, Bee-hives prepared 

with, 189. 
Pimelia spinulosa, 41. 
Pindar, Bees induce, to write 

verses, 178. 
Pismires, 146-170. 
Pithecius, 41. 

Plague, oil of Scorpions for, 330; 
occasioned by Locusts, 101-118. 
Plant-lice, 257-259. 
Plants, animals becoming, 90-92. 
Plato, eloquence of, foretold by 

Bees, 178. 
Platyphyllon concavum, 131. 
Plenty foretold by Lady-bird, 18. 
Plum, Ear- wig in a, 76. 
Poems on a Flea, 313. 
Poison of Spiders, antidotes for, 

356; from ants, 161. 
Poisonous Honey, 210. 
Poland, poisonous Sirex in, 142; 
scai-let grain of, 260; Locusts 
in, 103-130. 
Poma insana, 145. 
Pontia brassicse, 225. 

cardimines, 226. 
Poor Humphrey's satire on kill- 
ing Fleas, 309. 
Popes, Caterpillars cursed by, 243. 
Poppy, Honey antidote for, 208. 
Poterium sanguisorba, 260. 
Prayers offered to destroy cater- 
pillars, 242; to prevent sting- 
ing of Scorpions, 327. 
Praying-Mantis, 82-92. 
Priest, Cicada symbol of, 253. 
Primx vine,, acidity in. Stag-beetle 
for, 26. 




Friomis cervicornis, 74. 
coriarius, 27. 
damicornis, 27, 73. 

Prognostications from Ants, 152; 
Army-worm, 243; Bees, 178; 
Butterflies, 229; Cicadas, 252; 
comets, 246; Crane-fly, 286; 
Crickets, 92 ; Daddy-Long-legs, 
321; Death's-liead Moth, 232; 
Deatb-Avatch, 58; Dragon-fly, 
140; Dung-beetle, 148; Fleas, 
310; Flies, 289; Gall-flies, 143; 
Glow-worm, 57; Gnats, 280; 
Grasshoppers, 98; Hornets,172; 
Katy-did, 131; Lady-bird, 18; 
Locusts, 119; Mantis, 82; May- 
bugs, 47; Moths, 242; Span- 
worms, 248; Spiders, 336-340; 
Wasps, 173. 

Propolis, curious uses of, by Bees, 

Prosecution against Ants, 168. 

Prosperity foretold by Ants, 152. 

Proverbial phrases connectedwith 
Bees, 212. 

Psalms, singing of, to Bees, 188. 

Psyche, Butterfly symbol of, 228. 

Fsychidiv, 245-246. 

Pthah, Scarab sacred to, 30; em- 
blematical of, 32. 

Pthah Tore, Scarab emblematical 
of, 33. 

Pthah-Sokari-Osiris, Scarab em- 
blem of, 33. 

Ptinidx, 58-61. 

Public events. Bees informed of, 

Pulex irritans, 305-314. 
penetrans, 314. 

PuUcidse, 305-315. 

Pulices arborescentes, 223. 

Pupce of Ants as food for birds, 
159; of Termites eaten, 137. 

Purgatory, beetle connectedwith, 

Putrefaction, generation from, 
290, 322. 

Pygolampis Italica, 56. 

Pythagoreans, Honey eaten by, 

Python natalensis killed by Ants, 

QuANG-TONG, Butterflies of, 229. 

Quarrel prognosticated by Black- 
smith-beetle, 55. 

Quarrelsome family. Bees will not 
thrive for, 184. 

Quartan ague, Bed-bugs for, 267; 
Spiders, 359. 

Quercus ilex, 259. 

Quinsey, Caterpillars for, 245. 

Radish to destroy Scorpions, 325. 

Rain: see weather. 

Rain, bloody, 216-225. 

Rain-doctoi's, Locusts brought by, 

Ram, flesh of, for sting of Scor- 
pions, 326; Scarab figured with 
head of, 34. 

Ravages of the Antler-moth, 246; 
Ants, 166-169; Coccus Ilesperi- 
di/m, 264; Dermestes vulpijius, 
24; Ear wigs, 76; Gnats and 
Mosquitoes, 281-283; Grass- 
hoppers, 100; Hop-fly, 258; 
larvae of Woolly-bear Moths, 
242; Locusts, 101-118; May- 
bugs, 48, 49; Scorpions, 327; 
Spiders, 353; Termites, 132- 
134; Turnip-fly, 74; Typog- 
rapher-beetle, 61. 

Raven and the Scorpion, a fable, 

Reason of Ants, 154. 

Red-haired persons stung by Bees, 

Red snow, origin of, 220, n. 

Regeneration, Scarab symbol of, 

Rewards off'ered for killing Ants, 
167 ; Locusts, 116. 

Revenue of "Lice" of Montecu- 
suma, 316. 

Rheumatism, Oil-beetle for, 63. 

Rhynchiius auratus, 71. 

Richards, Buprestidx called, 51. 

Rifle-balls, protection against, 

Ringing swarms of Bees, 189. 

Rings, Scarab as signet in, 32, 39. 

Riordan, Mary, insects in stomach 
of, 67. 

Roach, sound as a, 79. 



Robin, veneration for the, 43, n. 
llock, solid, living Bees in, 215. 
Komans, Bees in divination by, 

215; Cossi eaten, 27; Scarab 

emblem adopted by, 32; silks 

used, 238. 
Rome, Flies in, 289; showers of 

blood in, 216. 
Rose-chafers, 49 
Rotharmel, Peter, 188. 
Rouge, Cochineal made into, 

Rue, antidote for poisons, 193. 
Russia, Honey in, 195; Locusts, 


Sabbath, Jews not permitted to 

burn Fleas on the, 311. 
Sacred-Scarab of the Egyptians, 

St. Ambrose, eloquence of, fore- 
told by Bees, 178. 
Domingo and the Flea, 310. 
Eustace, Spider at church of, 

Felix, life of, saved by Spi- 
ders, 333. 
Francis, Lice nourished by, 

George, Flies from the dragon 
killed by, 304 ; prayer to, to 
keep away Scorpions, 327. 
John, Locusts eaten by, 125. 
Hector, manner of dis- 
covering Bee-trees, 
s' day, fires to kill Can- 
ker-worms on, 248. 
Julien, lawsuit between Com- 
mune of, and an Insect, 
Macarius, penance of, for 

killing a Gnat, 285. 
Milburge, cure effected by the 
water in which his bones 
were washed, 364. 
Roche and " Sound as a 

Roach," 79. 
Saturnine, patron saint to de- 
stroy Ants, 166. 
Xavier and the Mantis, 88. 

Salt, use of, in witchcraft, 207. 

Salamander, antidote for poison 
of, 193. 

Samson, Bees from lion slain by, 
184, 194. 

Sandwich Islands, Fleas in, 306. 

Sapor, army of, routed by Mos- 
quitoes, 283. 

Scaliger, his fondness for Crick- 
ets, 95. 

Scandinavia, Dung-beetle in, 28- 
29; Lady-bird in, 17. 

Scarabseidse, 27-45. 

Scarabseus auratus, 45. 
cortiutus, 26. 
nasicornis, 45. 
pilurarius, 27-44, 293. 
sacer, 27-44. 
unctuosus, 63. 

Scarlet, history of dyeing, 259. 

Schurman, Anna Maria, Spiders 
eaten by, 355. 
cured of boils by Ants, 

Scleranthus perennis, 260. 

Scolopendras as food, 365. 

Scorpions, 65, 100, 295, 321-331. 

Scotland, bloody-rain in, 221 ; 
Flies, 289; Humble-bees, 213; 
Lady-birds, 19-20; Lice, 319, 

Scrofula in horses, combs of 
Hornets' nest for, 172. 

Scurvy, Bedeguar for, 144. 

Scutcheons, Scarab on Egyptian 
royal, 35. 

Scythia, Lice in, 318. 

Sea-crabs, Scorpions generated 
from, 322. 

Sea-water for sting of Scorpions, 

Seals, Scarab-gems as, 39. 

Sechell Islands, Dry-leaf Mantis 
in, 92. 

Seed-lac, 263. 

Seeds, Cochineal supposed to be, 
261 ; sown in the hide of a tor- 
toise, 75. 

Selborne, the Bee-eater of, 205. 

Selk, Scorpion emblem of, 328. 

Selling of Bees, notions concern- 
ing, 185. 



Septuagint, Bee eulogized in tlie, 

Serpents and Ants, 157; enmity 
between Spiders and, 341 ; 
Honey for bite of, 208 ; a 
Mantis tlie parent of the, 157; 
of Tiberias Caesar eaten by 
Ants, 151; to kill Nits, 320; 
worship of, in Egypt, 43, n. 

Seventeen-year Locust, 254. 

Sheep, artificial migration of, 
198; dung of, for bite of Spi- 
der, 356; killed by Ants, 157; 
maggots in brain of, 302. 

Shield-lice, 259-264. 

Shell-lac, 263. 

Ships, monkeys kept on board, to 
kill Roaches, 78. 

Showers of blood, 216-225; of 
Gossamer, 347 ; insects wuth 
snow, 364. 

Siam, Ants in, 159 ; interpreta- 
tion of signs and dreams of in- 
sects in, 370; beetle for fight- 
ing in, 368; Grasshoppers in, 
98; Spiders, 354. 

Sideritis, the herb, for sting of 
Scorpions, 326. 

Singing to Bees, 188. 

Signs: see prognostications and 

Silesia, poisonous Sirex in, 142. 

Silk of Silk-worms, 234-241, 
Spiders, 361. 

Silk-ioorm Moths, 234-241. 

Silver for sting of Scorpions, 325, 

Sins expiated by assisting Dung- 
beetles, 28. 

Sirex fusicornis, 142. 
gig as, 142. 
juvencus, 142. 
spectrum, 142. 

Skull, Bees make Honey in a, 

Sleep, Caterpillar to procure, 
245 ; chirping of Crickets to 
induce, 95-96. 

Sleight-of-hand, supposed per- 
formance of, 372. 

Sloth, Fleas to prevent, 306. 

Sluggard referred to the Ant, 

Smoke to drive aAvay Locusts, 

Snails embalmed by Bees, 210; 
eaten in the West Indies, 98. 

Snake, living, hung by a Spider, 
345; danger from, in collecting 
Locusts, 124; fed by Dragon- 
flies, 139. 

Snow, Fleas on the, 314; Gnats 
falling with, 280 ; insects in 
numbers on, 364; origin of red, 
220, n. 

Soap, beetle made into, 23; Ci- 
cadas, 254. 

Socrates measures the jump of a 
Flea, 311. 

Solomon and the Ant, 148; Ant 
in Paradise, 153. 

Song, Locusts kept for sake of, 
130; vessel saved by song of a 
Spanish Gryllo, 130. 

Son, Scarab emblematical of an 
only, 33. 

Soothsayers, 82-92. 

Soul, Butterfly symbol of, 228; 
Moths supposed to be, 243; of 
industrious from Ants, 150. 

Sound as a Roach, 79. 

South America, Ants in, 160 : 
Goliath-beetle, 46 ; Grou-grou 
worm, 69; Hercules-beetle, 45- 
46; Termites, 132-137. 

Spain, Bees in, 212; Cantharides, 
63; Locusts, 102-130; Silk- 
worms, 237. 

Spanish-flies, 02. 

Spanish Inquisition, detectives 
of, called Flies, 292. 

Span-worms, 248. 

Sparrman, Dr., anecdote of, 360. 

Spawn, fish,- Locusts hatched 
from, 118; sold for eggs, of 
Silk-worms, 241. 

Spectacles, Hornets' nest to clean, 

Speke, Capt., beetle in the ear of, 
79, n. 

Spiders, 61, 99, 113, 193, 322, 324, 
332-362, 370. 



Spirits, Ants and lizards eaten 
by, 161. 

Sphex. notion respecting, 174. 

Sphingidse, 232-234. 

Sphinx Atropos, 232. 

[Deilephila) hippophaes, 

ligustris, 233. 

Spring-beetles, 51-55. 

Spring, Scarab symbolical of, 

Squill for sting of Scorpions, 

Stag-beetles, 24-27. 

Stag, feet of, to drive away Bugs, 

Sternocera chrysis, 50. 

sternicornis, 50. 

Stick-lac, 263. 

Stiflfness in knees cured by Ants, 

Sting of Bees, Hornets, etc., 
remedies for, 174, 198. 

Stockings, silk, 238. 

Stolen Bees will not thrive, 184. 

Stomach, insects introduced into 
the human, 67. 

Stone, Bedeguar for, 144; Glow- 
worm, 57; Scorpions, 329. 

Storm, prognostication of, from 
Gnats, 280. 

Strangles in horses, combs of 
Hornets for, 172. 

Strangury, Bed-bugs for, 267 ; 
Bees, 206. 

Strength of Bung-beetle, 28; 
Flea, 311; Stag-beetle, 25. 

Success foretold by Glow-worm, 

Sudorific, Cochineal as a, 262. 

Sumatra, Cricket in, 96. 

Sun, Ants sacrificed to, 153 ; 
Flies, 292 ; Scarab sacred to, 
30 ; the first worship of the, 

Superstitions connected with 
Agaric-Gnat, 286 ; Ants, 151 ; 
Acanthocinus sedilis, 73; Army- 
worm, 247; Butterflies, 229; 
Caterpillars, 242; Cock- 
roaches, 80-82; Crickets, 92- 

95; Death-watch, 58-61, 91; 
Death's-head Moth, 232; Dra- 
gon-flies, 138, 140; Dung-bee- 
tle, 28; Ear-wig, 76; Flies, 
290; Gall-flies, 143; Glow- 
worm, 57 ; Grasshoppers, 98, 
100; Katy-did, 131; Lady- 
birds, 17-23; Locusts, 119; 
Mantis, 82-92; Silk-worms, 
239; Stag-beetles, 25; Scor- 
pions, 322-331; Spiders, 339; 
AVasps and Hornets, 173 ; Span- 
worms, 248. 

Surinam, Cicadas in, 254 ; Fire- 
ants, 157; Gnats, 280; Lantern- 
flies, 255. 

Surat, hospital at, for animals, 

Swallow, heart of, for lunacy, 
330; odious and impious, 251. 

Swammerdam, anecdote of, 363. 

Swarms of Ants, 164; Aphides, 
258; Butterflies, 225; Cantha- 
rides. 64; Day-flies, 138; Dra- 
gon-flies, 139-140; Flies, 287; 
Gnats, 278; Lady-birds, 21; 
May-bugs, 48. 

Swarming of Bees, notions con- 
cerning, 185-190. 

Sweat, Fleas generated from, 

Sweden, Acanthocinus sedilis in, 
73 ; Ants, 161 ; Blaps mortisa- 
ga, 65; Fleas, 308; Grasshop- 
pers, 100; Lady-bird, 17; Lice, 

Switzerland, Caterpillars in, 
158, n. 

Swoonings, wax to prevent, 254. 

Sword, in charm to destroy Fleas, 

Sybils resorted to, to drive away 
Locusts, 113. 

Syria, Galls from, 145; Locusts 
in, 103-130. 

Tamableness of the Fly, 289. 
Tarantula, 351. 

Taylor, Mrs., and her Crickets, 
95; Mantis, 88-90. 



Telephorus fuseus, 364. 

Tempests raised by magicians, 

Tendons, Stag-beetle for contrac- 
tions of, 26. 

Tenebrio molitoiL, 65, 68. 

Tenebrionidx, 65. 

Teneriffe, Locusts in Island of, 

Tennessee, bloody-rain in, 224. 

Terambus transformed into the 
Cerambyx, 73. 

Terias lisa, 'I'll. 

Termes bellicosus, 135. 

Termites, 132-137. 

Termiiidse, 132-137. 

Tertian ague. Bed-bugs for, 268 ; 
Spiders, 359. 

Tettix, 250. 

Thebes, Spiders in, 338. 

Thor, Dung-beetle sacred to, 28. 

Thread, sevving,Spider's web used 
for, 362. 

Thi'oat, Crickets for aflfections of, 

Tiberias Ccesar, death of, foretold 
by Ants, 151. 

Tiffin and Son, Bug-destroyers in 
London, 268, 

Timour and the Ant, 154. 

Timpany, Spiders for, 360. 

Tinea padilla, 248. 
punctata, 248. 
tapetzella, 249. 

Tineidie, 248, 249. 

Tipulidse, 286. 

Toads, enmity between Spiders 
and, 341. 

Tobacco, clay of Ant-hills as sub- 
stitute for, 135. 

Toothache, Curculios for, 71 ; 
Lady-bird, 21 ; tooth-picks of 
Spiders' mandibles for, 354. 

Tooth-picks, mandibles of Spiders 
for, 354. 

Tortoise and the Scorpion, a fa- 
ble, 330; Bugs administered in 
the blood of, 267 ; gall of, in 
medicine, 209; seeds sown in 
the hide of, 75. 

Torture, Ants as an instrument 

of, 158; Flies, 296; Mosqui- 
toes, 284; Termites, 135. 

Tonga Group, Ants in, 161. 

Trade in insects, 229, 255, 307, 

Transylvania, Locusts in, 105- 

Tumuli, Leather-beetles buried 
in, 24. 

Turenne's aversion for Spiders, 

Turkey, beetle eaten by women 
in, 65; Mantis in, 84. 

Turnip-fly, 74. 

Typographer-beetles, 61. 

Ulcers, Blatia of Pliny for, 66; 

Cockroaches, 78; Honey-dew, 

Unchastity, insect to discover, 

367; punished by Bees, 181. 
Unclean thoughts, Flies emblem 

of, 292. 
United States, Ant-lions in, 141 ; 


!54; Spiders, 340; 

see Indians, American; New 
England; New York; Mary- 
land; Ohio; Mississippi; Penn- 
sylvania; North Carolina; Vir- 

Urine, Fleas generated from, 305 ; 
forced with Cantharides, 63; 
Lice to suppress, 319; Stag- 
beetle, 26. 

Uroceridse, 142. 

Vanessa cakdui, 226, 230. 
polychloros, 220. 
uriicx, 220, 230. 
Vegetable-flies, 90-92. 
Venery, Ants to provoke to, 161. 
Veneration for Acanthocinus sedilis, 

73; chrysalids of Butterflies, 

308; Mantis, 83-88; Scarab, 

Vermin, origin of, 305. 
Vertigo, silk-worms for, 240. 
Vesicatory, Cantharides as, 63; 

Cerambyx moschatus, 73. 



Vespa crfibro, 1/1. 

Vespidse, 170-174. 

Vessel attacked by Termites, 
133; saved from being wrecked 
by song of a Spanish Gryllo, 

Vienna, Lady-bird at, 17. 

Vines, to prevent "Cantharides" 
from injuring, 64. 

Vipers, generation of, 322. 

Virginia, Ants in, 152; Caterpil- 
lars, 242; Crickets, 95. 

Virgin Mary, Lady-bird dedica- 
ted to, 17, 18. 

Virgins, hatred of Scorpions for, 

Virtues of Honey, 208. 

Vives, Ludovicus, eloquence of, 
foretold by Bees, 178. 

Voluptuary, Scarab emblematical 
of a, 33. 

Vomiting, Bugs for, 267. 

Vulture, gall of, in medicine, 219. 

Wall-lice, 265. 

War, omens of, from Agaric-Gnat, 

286; Gall-fiy. 143; Gnats, 280; 

Locusts, 119; Spiders, 338; 

Avaged against Locusts, 114; 

Bees idle during, 184. 
Warbles, 303. 
Wars of Ants, 151. 
Warrior, Scarab emblematical of, 

Warts, Cobwebs to remove, 359; 

Grasshoppers, 100. 
Washington City, Mantis in, 88. 
Washington, General, Mosquitoes 

pierce boots of, 281. 
Wa!>ps, 170-174, 194, 202. 
Water as a charm to destroy Lo- 
custs, 116; found from swarms 

of Gnats, 280. 
Water-boatmen, 275-277. 
Wax, Bees-, 206-208. 

Pela, 254. 
Way, lost, discovered by Mantis, 

Weasel, young of, for bite of 

Spider, 356. 

Weather, prognostications as to, 
from Ants, 153; Bees, 182, 194; 
Butterflies, 229; Fleas, 310; 
Flies, 290; Hornets, 172; Spi- 
ders, 336 ; Lady- bird connected 
with fine, 17, 18. 

Weevils, 68-72. 

West Indies, Ants in, 162, 167; 
Cucujus, 51 ; Grasshoppers, 98 ; 
Grou-grouworm, 68-70; Musk- 
beetle, 73; Spiders, 354; saved 
from invasion by Cucuji, 53. 

Whales, generation of, 322. 

Wheat, prices of, connected with 
the ocean tides, 188, n. 

Whistles to call cattle, made of 
beetle-shards, 369. 

White ants, 132-137. 

White-clover, Indian name for, 

Wildman, anecdotes of, 201. 

Wind, Aphides produced by a, 

Winter, prognostication from 
May-bug as to, 47. 

Wisdom of the Ant exaggerated, 

Witchcraft, beetle against, 44; 
Bot-fly in, 303; Humble-bees, 
213; use of wax in, 206. 

Witches in the forms of Flies, 

Wolf, tail of, to drive away Flies, 
288 ; Wasps generated from 
carcass of, 171. 

Women, hatred of Scorpions for, 

Wood-louse, Death-Avatch sup- 
posed to be, 61. 

Woodpecker to keep Bees from 
stinging, 193, 

Wood-carrying Moth, 245. 

Wood-tic, 321. 

Wool, rain of, 348 ; to drive 
away Ants, 170. 

Woolly-bear Moths, 242-245. 

World, Scarab symbolical of, 30. 

Worm in the heart of a horse, 
365 ; from stomach of a wo- 
man, 364. 

Wormals, 303. 



Worms extracted from children's 
ears, 371; intestinal, Bedeguar 
for, 14-4; charm, 365; Cock- 
roaches, 78; oil of Scorpions, 
830; powder of a tombstone, 

Worm-wood to destroy Fleas, 

Worship of the Mantis, 83-88; 
pupse of Butterflies, 230; Sca- 

rab, 28-44; Egyptian, of ani- 
mals, 43, n. 
Wounds, Blatta of Pliny for, 66 ; 
Crickets, 97; Oil-beetles, 63; 
Spiders, 359. 

Zephyr, Butterfly symbol of, 

Zisca, what he meant by "cob- 
webs," 356. 


Page 43, line 19 from the top, between the words ''is it" and 
"plain" insert the word "not." 

Page 71, line 29, for ^^Carahus chrysocephaluo'" read ^'■Carabus 

Page 131, line 12, for "Mrs. A. L. Ruyter Dufour" read "Mrs. 
A. L. Ruter Dufour." 


^ ^^ 

.cy. _ 




3 ^Dflfl DD1S3SDE D 

nhent QL467.C87 
Curious facts in the history of insects;